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Literacy Instruction. By: Amanda Brown & Brittany Wagner. Outline. Development of Oral Language Oral Communication Skills Silent Period Speech What effective teachers can do Things to Consider Strategies Development of Literacy Skills Decoding skills Phonemic Awareness Phonics

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literacy instruction

Literacy Instruction

By: Amanda Brown & Brittany Wagner


Development of Oral Language

  • Oral Communication Skills
  • Silent Period
  • Speech
  • What effective teachers can do
  • Things to Consider
  • Strategies

Development of Literacy Skills

  • Decoding skills
  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Strategies
oral communication skills
Oral Communication Skills
  • Provide the foundation for literacy development
  • ELLs need daily opportunities to learn and practice oral English
  • ELLs learn English primarily by listening to language in use around them, while using context to figure out what the spoken words mean

(Considerations for ELLs.)

silent period
Silent Period
  • An interval of time during which they are unable or unwilling to communicate orally in the new language
  • May last for a few days or a year
  • They listen and observe more than they speak

(Haynes, J.)

  • Fluently when using greetings and other basic phrases in routine interpersonal situations, but speak haltingly when constructing English sentences to express more complex ideas
  • May be ungrammatical
  • May be "accented," reflecting lack of experience with English sounds, rhythms, and stress patterns.

(Considerations for ELLs.)

effective teachers
Effective teachers...
  • are aware that ELLs who are quiet in class may be hard at work listening and comprehending
  • know that ELLs may take longer to answer a question or volunteer a comment, because they need more time to process meaning and formulate an appropriate response

(Considerations for ELLs.)

things to consider
Things to Consider...
  • With time and lots of opportunities to listen, observe, participate, and interact, ELLs progress in understanding and are able to produce language that is increasingly complete, complex, and grammatical
  • With different students, there may be a need to focus on particular aspects of oral language such as pronunciation

(ESL Strategies.)

things to consider8
Things to Consider...
  • ESL learners may experience difficulty in hearing and producing some English sounds because they do not appear in the learner’s language
  • Similarly, stress, rhythm and intonation will also differ from the first language
  • Provide many opportunities to hear and practise language through rhymes, songs, chants, games, drama etc.

(ESL Strategies.)

total physical response tpr
Total Physical Response (TPR)
  • Greatly multiply the language input and output that can be handled by beginning English language learners
  • Elicit whole-body responses when new words or phrases are introduced
  • Teachers can develop quick scripts that provide ELLs and other students with the vocabulary and/or classroom behaviours related to everyday situations
total physical response tpr11
Total Physical Response (TPR)
  • Activities help students adjust to school and understand the behaviours required and the instructions they will hear
  • This will help them in mainstream classrooms, in the halls, during lunchtime, during fire drills, on field trips, and in everyday life activities.

(Colorin, C., 2007)

how to use tpr classroom strategies seven step process
How to Use TPR: Classroom Strategies (seven step process)

1. Introduction

  • The teacher introduces a situation in which students follow a set of commands using actions

2. Demonstration

  • The teacher demonstrates or asks a student to demonstrate this series of actions

3. Group Action

  • The class acts out the series while the teacher gives the commands
how to use tpr classroom strategies seven step process13
How to Use TPR: Classroom Strategies (seven step process)

4. Written Copy

  • Write the series on the chalkboard or chart paper so that students can make connections between oral and written words while they read and copy

5. Oral Repetitions and Questions

  • After students have made a written copy, they repeat each line after the teacher, taking care with difficult words. They ask questions for clarification, and the teacher points out grammatical features
how to use tpr classroom strategies seven step process14
How to Use TPR: Classroom Strategies (seven step process)

6. Student Demonstration

  • Students can also take turns playing the roles of the reader of the series and the performer of the actions

7. Partner Activities

  • Students work in pairs or teams of four to tell or read the series

(Colorin, C.,2007)

other strategies
Other Strategies...
  • Teachers include listening as an integral part of reading and writing instruction
  • Teachers' talk is a primary source of information and language input for ELLs
  • Teachers employ a variety of effective strategies that involve students as active and engaged listeners
other strategies16
Other Strategies...
  • Teachers guide students to identify literary elements as they read aloud, listen to, and discuss books together
  • Beginning English language learners (ELLs) and first-time readers need to have literary elements explained, reviewed, and restated.
other strategies17
Other Strategies...
  • Teacher’s help students understand and make connections to their reading through social interactions in which students listen to and build upon each other's responses to the text
  • Participating in literature-based discussions provides English language learners (ELLs) with rich opportunities for learning
  • Effective teachers vary reading response activities to include art as another way for ELLs to demonstrate their comprehension and reactions
other strategies18
Other Strategies...
  • Teachers provide opportunities for students to discuss insights from their reading with each other.
  • Like all students, English language learners (ELLs) benefit from opportunities to participate in book discussions, interacting with teachers and peers Having a student recall or retell a story can help a teacher assess the student's reading comprehension
  • Teachers who speak the home languages of ELLs and who wish to assess students' English reading comprehension can use cross-linguistic approaches
other strategies19
Other Strategies...
  • Teachers include daily sharing as an important activity in their classrooms
  • Cultural factors influence the style of oral language. People from diverse cultures differ in what they tell and how they tell it
  • It is important to understand that limited English proficiency and culturally diverse styles of narration influence how students share stories and experiences in class
other strategies20
Other Strategies...
  • Teachers model how to verbalize understandings and questions about readings and then provide opportunities for students to practice these comprehension strategies
  • ELLs spend a great part of their time and energy trying to understand the oral and written English that surrounds them. ELLs benefit from learning how to ask themselves and other people questions that focus on finding and clarifying the information they need

(Considerations for ELLs.)

what are decoding skills
What are Decoding Skills?
  • Skills necessary to analyze and interpret correctly the spoken or graphic symbols of a familiar language i.e. ability to make sense of printed words.
  • Focus on sounding out words
  • To be able to read, children must be able to comprehend language, and they must be able to decode text

(Wren, S., 2009)

how are decoding skills taught
How Are Decoding Skills Taught?
  • Understand that words have meaning
  • Become familiar with the letters of the alphabet
  • Understand that spoken words are made up of phonemes

(Wren, S., 2009)

how do semantics affect decoding skills
How Do Semantics Affect Decoding Skills?
  • Semantics is the word’s meaning.
  • Directly teaching vocabulary, through the use of pictures, will increase semantic skills.
  • Direct correlation between vocabulary and reading comprehension.

(Bringing Scientific Research to Learning, 2005 – 2007)

how does syntax relate to decoding skills
How Does Syntax Relate To Decoding Skills?
  • Function, or part of speech, a word represents.
  • Need to understand the relationships between words
  • After determining the semantic meaning of each word they can comprehend the meaning of the sentence as a whole

(Bringing Scientific Research to Learning, 2005 – 2007)

how does understanding conceptual relationships help with reading decoding skills
How Does Understanding Conceptual Relationships Help With Reading Decoding Skills?
  • Conceptual relationships – understanding how words relate to each other
  • Strengthens understanding and ability to remember new words, as well as previously learned words
  • Ex) understand the word “car” can help ELLs’ to understand and remember the word “van.”
  • When ELLs’ learns the word “automobile,” they can group all of these words together to gain a clearer understanding of all three words.

(Bringing Scientific Research to Learning, 2005 – 2007)

how do phonological properties relate to decoding skills
How Do Phonological Properties Relate To Decoding Skills?
  • Characteristics of the various sounds in a word.
  • Using these decoding skills is often referred to as “phonemic awareness.”
  • Phonemic awareness = Ability to identify phonemes (smallest identifiable units of sound) and how they can be separated, blended and manipulated.
  • ELLs’ learn to read more easily when they are aware of these phonemes
  • Have activities that are fun to teach children to understand that words are made up of many sounds

(Vaugh & Thompson, n.d.)

why teach phonemic awareness
Why teach phonemic awareness?
  • Children who begin school with no phonological awareness have trouble acquiring alphabetic coding skill and thus have difficulty recognizing words
  • Instruction in phonemic awareness is beneficial when combine with instruction in letter names
  • Phonemic awareness influences outcomes in word recognition and comprehension, as well as spelling, for all students
  • Phonemic awareness can be taught in a relatively brief amount of time each day (15 min) and throughout the school day

(Vaugh & Thompson, n.d.)

what are the phonemic awareness skills that students should know
What are the Phonemic Awareness Skills that Students Should Know?
  • Segmenting words into phonemes and blending phonemes
  • Words can be divided into sound units such as syllables, onset-rime or phonemes
    • Onset – consonants before the vowel and rime refers to the vowel and every sound that follows it ex) can - /c/ = onset /an/ = rime
  • Focus on teaching 1 or 2 skills at a time, perhaps for a week, especially at the phoneme level

(Vaugh & Thompson, n.d.)

overview of phonological awareness skills
Overview of phonological awareness skills
  • Discriminating – students listen to determine if two words begin or end with the same sound
  • Counting – students clap the number of words in a sentence, syllables in a word (cowboy, carrot), sounds in a word (me, jump)
  • Rhyming – students create word families with rhyming words (all, call, fall, ball)
  • Alliteration – students create tongue twisters (sally’s silly shoe sank slowly in the slime
overview of phonological awareness skills30
Overview of phonological awareness skills
  • Segmenting – students say the word and they say each syllable or sound (inside is /in/ /side/ or /i/ /n/ /s/ /i/ /d/ /e/
  • Manipulating – deleting, adding, and substituting sounds and syllables
    • Deleting – students listen to words and then say them without the first syllable (baseball becomes ball) or sound (bat becomes at)
    • Adding – students listen to words and add syllables (to come add /ing/) or sounds (add the /s/ sound to the beginning of /un/)
    • Substituting – students listen and change sounds (change /r/ in run to /b/ to make bun

(Vaugh & Thompson, n.d.)

how do i teach phonemic awareness
How do I teach phonemic awareness?
  • Instruction provided is systematic and explicit – obvious, visible and with goals
  • Lessons should be highly focused and well sequenced
  • Allow time to model, for students to respond individually and in groups
  • Many activities will be oral, training is most beneficial when it is combined with connecting sounds to letters
how do i teach phonemic awareness32
How do I teach phonemic awareness?
  • Provide many opportunities for students to write the letters that represent the sound that they hear
  • Teach students these skills in small groups (4 – 6). Students who are taught in small groups transfer their phonemic awareness skills to reading and spelling better than those who receive whole class instruction or one-to-one instruction

(Vaugh & Thompson, n.d.)

morphological properties and decoding skills
Morphological Properties and Decoding Skills
  • Word elements that create new words and change the meaning of words.
  • Example: prefixes, suffixes, and root words.
  • Helps ELLs break words down into more familiar words
  • Ex) if they know what “school” means and what “pre” means, they can figure out what the word “preschool” means.

(Bringing Scientific Research to Learning, 2005 – 2007)

  • Connecting the sounds of spoken English with letters or groups of letters
  • e.g., that the sound /k/ can be represented by c, k, ck or ch spellings
  • Teaching them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of unknown words.

(“Phonics,” 2009)

contexts that is appropriate for teaching phonics
Contexts that is appropriate for teaching phonics:
  • Combine phonics cues with other reading cues to gain greater understanding from written text.
  • A hands-on activity
  • A language experience story
  • Individual student writing
  • Familiar and meaningful poems, songs

(Gordon & Hamayan, n.d.)

strategies that is appropriate for teaching phonics
Strategies that is appropriate for teaching phonics:
  • Limit the number of concepts and examples.
  • Provide phonics instruction individually or to very small groups.
  • Instruction should be interactive, in context, appropriately paced, and provide students with immediate feedback.
  • Move from whole to part and back to whole.
strategies that are appropriate for teaching phonics
Strategies that are appropriate for teaching phonics:
  • Example, start with a whole story, focus on a sentence, then individual words, finally syllables, phonemes, and letters.
  • Invest your phonics instructional time on sound/symbol relationships that are highly transferable.
  • Have students infer rules of phonics through discovery methods

(Gordon & Hamayan, n.d.)

strategies to develop literacy skills
Strategies to develop literacy skills
  • zooming in on the text
  • Jump back and reread.
  • Try and try again
  • Using the Visual Aid Method to Teach Reading Strategies

(Sasson, D., 2007)

  • Bringing Scientific Research to Learning. (2005 – 2007). Retrieved July 20, 2009, from
  • Colorin,C (2007).Oral Language Development for Beginners. Retrieved July 19, 2009 from
  • Considerations for ELLs. Retrieved July 18, 2009 from
  • ESL Strategies. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from
  • Gordon, M. J., & Hamayan, E. (n.d.). Phonics Instruction for ESL Students Who Have Literacy Skills In Their Native Language. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from
  • Haynes,J. Pre-production and the Silent Period. Retrieved July 20, 2009 from
  • Phonics. (2009, July 18.) Retrieved July 18, 2009, from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:
  • Sasson, D. (2007, March 27). How to Teach Reading Strategies. Retrieved July 19, 2009, from
  • Vaugh, S. & Thompson, L. S. (n.d.). Research-Based Methods of Reading Instruction Grades K-3. Retrieved July 19,2009, from
  • Wong, M.(2008). The International Journal of Learning: Can Consciousness-Raising and Imitation Improve Pronunciation?.15(6), 43-46. Retrieved from
  • Wren, S. (2009, Feb. 2) Balanced Reading. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from