Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Academic Language for ESL Students

Question: How have you as a teacher helped native language speakers learn to read expository texts?

Answer: Make a list of successful techniques you, the teacher, have used with native speakers of English and suggest how you would adjust the techniques for ESL learners.

Here are my successful techniques for teaching native speakers of English to read expository texts successfully:

The Directed Reading Assignment.

Ask students what they already know about the topic to be read.

Pre-teach difficult or specialized vocabulary. Us context, roots, synonyms and antonyms.

Students read the title, sub—title, the first sentence of each paragraph in the chapter and the last paragraph.

Find out what they have learned from this survey of the chapter.

What questions do they expect to answer from reading  the text? I only use the questions in the text if the students have not come up with them.

Students read to answer the questions.

Discuss the answers to the questions.

Apply what they have learned in some way, including consulting the Internet on the topic.

How would I adjust this strategy for ESL students? I’d probably discuss with students each step—title, sub-title, fists sentence of each paragraph and last paragraph—more than I do with native speakers of English.

I would pay careful attention to charts and graphs and pictures in the text, helping them to understand the statistics in charts and graphs.

With vocabulary I would take advantage of familiar cognate in the student’s first language. RayS.

Title: “Language, Literacy, and Content Instruction: Strategies for Teachers.” Alfredo Schifini. Pp. 158-179. In Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Eds. K Spangensberg-Urgschat and R Pritchard. Newark, DE: IRA. 1994.

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