Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writing as Preparation for Reading: ESL

Question: How can ESL students—as well as native English speakers—use brainstorming in order to prepare for a reading assignment?

Answer/Quote: “Teachers use ‘quick-writes’ in classrooms for a variety of purposes as a brainstorming process before reading….for example, or as an opportunity to synthesize and display ideas during and after reading…. ‘Quick-writes’ call on students to jot down their ideas on a topic, without worrying unduly about correctness or mechanics.” P. 144.

“Writing before reading also helps students access ideas that will facilitate their understanding of narratives. For example, in Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt writes about eternal life, a subject that has fascinated human beings for centuries. Across cultures, various beliefs surround the subject of death and immortality. Bringing those various perspectives to light through students’ experiences and knowledge of their cultures not only helps individual students make connections with the story, but it also brings valuable information to the classroom. “

“Before beginning the novel, a teacher might ask students to think and write on the topic “Would you like to live forever?” Having an opportunity to explore their own thoughts relative to the subject and hearing the ideas of others will give the students a perspective on the problem that lies at the heart of this delightful book.”

Comment: Using “quick-writes” before reading also gives students experience with brainstorming. Brainstorming is an important part of the writing process. Whatever the topic the students are going to write about, they brainstorm ideas related to the topic in preparation for creating a thesis sentence. 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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