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Why ESL Phonological Teaching Improves ELLs’ Literacy Skills. Presented by Dr. Eugenia Krimmel. Today we will discuss…. The differences between teaching ELLs to read as opposed to teaching native English speakers

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Why ESL Phonological Teaching Improves ELLs’ Literacy Skills


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  1. Why ESL Phonological Teaching Improves ELLs’ Literacy Skills Presented by Dr. Eugenia Krimmel

  2. Today we will discuss… • The differences between teaching ELLs to read as opposed to teaching native English speakers • The levels involved in learning both the bottom-up and top-down aspects of language • Connect oral language skills to print • Phonemic awareness linked to decoding and encoding (spelling) • Teaching and practicing syllable rules, spelling patterns, and mental imagery for good ELL readers • The sequence of teaching bottom-up towards top-down strategies within our daily or weekly lessons.

  3. Why is teaching an English Language Learner (ELL) different in some respects to how we teach native English speakers?What needs do the ELLs have?

  4. Different Sounds System • /th/ does not exist in most languages • ELL substitute /th/ with /d/, /t/, /z/ • /b/ and /v/ are not distinguished in Spanish • No vowel teams in other languages • Many languages have only a vowel-consonant-vowel pattern: no digraphs or clusters

  5. Different Written Systems • Beautiful : Roman script • Arabic script: جميل • Chinese: 完美的 • Hiragani Japanese: • Tamil:

  6. Different Word Patterns • Plural –s suffix does not exist in many Asian languages • Two dollars = two dollar (the 2 indicates plural) in Chinese • Pronouns are added to words not standalone words • I go = gidiyorum (indicates “I”) in Turkish • Monosyllabic languages (Chinese, Hawaiian, South Eastern languages) • Multisyllabic languages (German, English, Spanish, Turkish)

  7. Different Sentence Structures • Sentence Order: Subject-Verb-Object (English) Object –Verb+Subject (Turkish) Subject + Object + Verb (Hindi) • Many languages do not have verb “to be” (Turkish, Arabic, Tagalog…) • I am a teacher = Ben biröğretmenim (Turkish – “ I one teacher/1st person indicator” • Preposition attached to the noun vs. preposition a separate word before the object.

  8. Different Discourse Patterns • English/German linear: beginning, middle, end • Semitic languages (Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew): Redundant, parallelism, repetition of thoughts with new words • Slavic languages (Russian, Czech, Polish): Zigzag pattern with added facts (related to historical facts) • Romance languages (Spanish, French, Romanian): Zigzag pattern with added tangents or side stories • Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog): Indirect, and recursive

  9. Do you know? • How many phonemes we have in English? Between 37-41 depending on the dialect of English • Dr. Bruce Hayes, Dept. of Linguistics, UCLA • How many syllable types there are in English? 6 types - Louis Moats and Carol Tolman, Reading Rockets: Six Syllable Types

  10. Do you know? • How many ways we spell long /a/ sound? 8 ! - a – Consonant –e -ay -ai -ei (vein) -eigh (weight) -ea (break, steak, great) a- as an open syllable (apricot) -ey (they, hey)

  11. Why are ELLs confused? • Sounds do NOT match the graphemes or symbols 1 –to- 1 • English is a low correspondence language! • Recognizing phonemes in words and sentences is a struggle if certain phonemes are totally unfamiliar • Word construction and sentence construction patterns are unfamiliar • English has many exceptions (“red words”)

  12. Connecting oral language with literacy skill development: What should we teach? : • Phoneme awareness and discrimination • Sound to letter correspondence • Word formation patterns • Syllable patterns and divisions • Spelling system rules (encoding) • Short phrase decoding When foundation is formed, fluency and comprehension can begin.

  13. Phoneme awareness and discrimination “The ability to perceive individual speech sounds in spoken words is crucial for students who are learning to read. If teachers do not possess this knowledge, how can they recognize and treat students whose basic difficulty in learning to read is the inability to perceive speech sounds in spoken words?” - Suzanne Carreker, Vice President of Research and Program Development at Neuhaus Education center, Houston, Texas.

  14. Know your phonemes. A teacher can stat by reviewing lists of phonemes like: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/spellings.html Or try an interactive website using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) for English http://www.usingenglish.com/files/pdf/common-ipa-international-phonetic-alphabet-symbols.pdf Now that you know what all those pesky phonemes are, let’s look at ways to teach ELLs those sounds…

  15. ESL Strategies for teaching listening phonemic awareness • Minimal pairs activity: 2 words with one phoneme difference. • Identify the same sound in words (bit, bat, ball) • Odd sound out – (bit, bat, cat)

  16. More ESL phonemic awareness strategies: • Combo Phones – give separate phonemes and have students put them together (c-a-t) • Tap out sounds – students tap one finger per sound as they hear the word (b-a-ck= 3 taps) • Add or Subtract Sounds – can ELLs recognize what word is made by adding or subtracting a sound = (“thin” plus /k/ =“ think”; “black” minus /l/ = “back”)

  17. More phonemic awareness for ELLs • Position of the phoneme within a word can also cause difficulties for ELLs when discriminating sounds or while pronouncing words. Strategy: Teach students : Initial Middle Final • Tell them to listen for the /th/ sound in bath. Final sound • Listen for /th/ in birthday. – Middle sound

  18. Why are these strategies important for ELLs? • Native English speakers have these sound referents in their heads already • ELLs need to build a phonemic inventory • ELLs do NOT have all these sounds and combinations in their head

  19. With these sounds going into their heads, their phonemic inventory, ELLs can now develop oral to written correspondence.

  20. Sound to letter teaching Encoding is for spelling. Decoding is for reading.

  21. In order to become good decoders and spellers (encoders), learners need to first develop fundamental understandings about writing and how it relates to spoken English.-Anna Gillingham , The Gillingham Manual

  22. Spelling or encoding is the system of rules governing how spoken words are represented in writing (in graphemes). These rules the basis of the alphabetic principle of a given language

  23. All readers and writers of a language must know the commonalphabetic principle. Try this: Copy this word on a piece of paper.  جميلة

  24. Did you write it left to right or right to left? • Which letters are consonants? • Which are vowels? Are there vowels? • Do you recognize the root of this word? • Which sounds are represented in this word?

  25. Knowing the alphabetic principle of a written language is essential to the higher skills of reading and writing. Without this in English, ELLs struggle.Not all ELLs use the Roman alphabet, so sound to letter teaching is essential!

  26. The major flaw of reading programs is the teaching of letter-to-sound rather than sound-to- letter, hence the alphabetic principle is not well learned by the [ELL] reader. - Marcia K. Henry, Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding and Spelling Instruction.

  27. Decoding and Encoding together • Connect sound to letter for both decoding and encoding skill development. • If a phoneme has more than 1 spelling, focus on one spelling pattern at a time. • Sequencing that order is best, but not always possible: ELLs may need to learn /ā/ is spelled “ei” before learning “ay” because in math or science they are learning Weights and Measures.

  28. Strategies linking oral sounds to spelling: Either by order of frequency (found in Orton-Gillingham materials) OR by necessity in the text, teach 2-3 phonemes in isolation orally, through phonemic awareness activities THEN Put those sounds into writing! Example: The sound/ŭ/is in these words : “umbrella, bug and cut” on the board while underlining the /u/. Connect the sound to the symbol.

  29. More Strategies… Total Physical Response (TPR) type activities: • Point to pictures of words with a specific sound i.e. - ice, pig, egg (point to which word/picture do you hear /ī/ in?) • Sort picture cards or word cards by sound categories • Match oral sound to letter, letter combination or word containing that sound • Write the letter(s) for the sound you hear • List all the words beginning with the sound …

  30. Word level teaching for decoding and encoding • Spelling patterns • Syllable rules • Stress patterns

  31. Spelling patterns • There are numerous spelling patterns in English. Teachers can present 1 or 2 patterns per week such as: • The “FLOSS” pattern: words of 1 syllable ending in f, l, or s after 1 vowel usually end in ff, ll, or ss. • Final /k/ sound is spelled –k after a long vowel or vowel team (take, week, book) OR after a consonant (milk, talk, think) /k/ is spelled –ckat the end of a short vowel syllable (duck, clock or jacket, tickle) • /s/ can be spelled with soft “c” + e or I (cent, city)

  32. Syllable Patterns • Closed syllables – has 1 short vowel (at, bin, ad-, egg, speck, scratch…) • Open syllables - has 1 long vowel (me, hi, co-, tri-, pre-, de-, no…) • Vowel team or combination - 2 vowels together make 1 vowel sound (ee, ea, oi, ou, au, aw, ow, etc.) (bee, ouch, now, boy, soil, saw…)

  33. Syllable patterns con’t • Vowel-consonant-e – 1st vowel has the long sound, “e” is silent (-ate, -ene, -ine, -oke, ute) (late, scene, nine, poke, cute) • Consonant –le: syllables ending in –ble, -cle, dle, ckle, fle, gle, ple, tle) (able, uncle, puddle, rifle, giggle) 3. -r controlled: vowels + r in syllable (third, cart, purse, doctor, her, solar)

  34. Syllable division or word patterns • C-V-C (consonant-vowel-consonant) (c-a-t, p-e-n) • V-C-C-V (rab-bit, but-ton, mer-chant, com- pare) • V-C-V (pi-lot, mu-sic, po-lite OR cab-in, lev-el) • V-C-CC-V (mon-ster, pil-grim) • V-CC-C-V (pump-kin, dish-rag, a-part-ment) • Prefix + root word + suffix mis-spell-ing, en-rich-ment • Schwa syllable is sometimes added to this list – in polysyllabic words, the soft /ŭ/ sound of the unstressed syllable = schwa (a,e,i,o, or u)

  35. Self-Reflection: Planning • What daily lesson sequence do you have for teaching the bottom-up skills through to the top-down comprehension skills? • Do you teach that range of reading/writing skills on a weekly basis rather than a daily one? Why? • When planning the scope and sequence of your reading skills lessons, what do you use to guide your thought process? Student assessment, book materials, scripted program?

  36. How do I teach my ELLs all these? Systematically Daily Sequentially Smaller to larger chunks Single to combinations and WITH MULTISENSORY STRATEGIES

  37. Start with Sounds and letters • Flash cards with letters and letter combinations – show to students, they tell you the sound those letter(s) make! • Blending Drill (yes I said DRILL! We want automaticity at this stage for fluency and better comprehension) Put phoneme flash cards in 3 piles by Initial-Middle-Final positions possible in English. Initial - Middle -Final b,ch, p, y, j, sla,i,o, oi, ou, u, oo s, p, -ch, -ng Possible combinations: boop, choich, slous…. *note this syllable game is practice decoding only

  38. Teach ELLs how to mark the words by syllable and vowel type

  39. Reading Horizons example * 1. met X

  40. * X * * X X X X X X Reading Horizons example 1. met 2. jump 3. me 4. smile 5. boat

  41. Reading Horizons example #1 How do you decode this word? wabe

  42. Reading Horizons example #1 How do you decode this word? wabe X X

  43. Example #2 How do you decode this word? brillig

  44. example #2 How do you decode this word? brillig X X

  45. Reading Horizons v5 How do you read or decode these nonsense words? wabe brillig

  46. Suggested Lesson Routine

  47. Isn’t that a long time? • In that 25 minutes you have taught essential skills necessary for ELLs to move forward in language proficiency • The bottom-up strategies are the foundations to vocabulary and larger text reading. • The total time – 25 minutes- will lessen as skills are mastered.

  48. A word about nonsense words for ELLs • Always indicate they are NONSENSE words • Should never appear on tests (other than testing decoding skills) • Practice blending and reading nonsense words is important for future unfamiliar word decoding

  49. Quick review • Teaching ELLs to read and spell in English requires purposeful, effective strategies that may not be necessary or practical for native English speakers • Planning a routine of sequential daily strategies to teach the phonemic awareness skills will improve their literacy skills at all levels • Knowing, as teachers, the nature of English phonemes, rules of syllables and segmentation, and spelling patterns is key to effectively teaching ELLs to read and write. • A program like Reading Horizons can help you plan, deliver, and assess focused skill development for ELLs at all levels and ages.

  50. Self-Reflection: Strategies • What strategies/activities do you use to teach oral introduction and/or discrimination of sounds? • What strategies do you use to teach vowel teams, clusters, diagraphs, and diphthongs? • What activities do you find best for teaching the types of syllables? • What activities do you find effective for teaching spelling patterns?