Thursday, August 4, 2011

Webbing and Prior Knowledge for ESL Students

Question: How can webs be used to develop ESL and native speakers of English students’ prior knowledge of a topic?

Answer/Quote: “Webbing provides a structure through which students can access and organize information and ideas and can actively connect the known to the new. Research and theory both support webbing as a vehicle for enhancing comprehension and learning.”

“For second language students, the networks of ideas that are captured in webs and concept maps highlight vocabulary and provide a concrete representation of information in a way that illustrates connections between concepts.”

“For example, before reading a social studies text on farming in the United States, a third-grade teacher can begin a web on the chalkboard, soliciting students’ prior knowledge about the subject. In the middle of a circle, the teacher writes the word ’farm,’ and on lines radiating out from the circle, the teacher writes words and phrases that students volunteer.” P. 146.

Comment: After reading the textbook chapter on “farming in the United States,” students can add additional information to the web. RayS.

Title: “Comprehending through Reading and Writing: Six Research-Based Instructional Strategies.” N Farnan, J Flood and D Lapp. Pp. 135-137. In Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Eds. K Spangensberg-Urgschat and R Pritchard. Newark, DE: IRA. 1994, 108-131.

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