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Literacy Success for English Language Learners in High School. New Jersey Department of Education Dr. Gilda Del Risco Kean University of New Jersey December 14, 2004. High Expectation with Support as Needed.

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literacy success for english language learners in high school

Literacy Success for English Language Learners in High School

New Jersey Department of Education

Dr. Gilda Del Risco

Kean University of New Jersey

December 14, 2004

high expectation with support as needed
High Expectation with Support as Needed
  • “Schools in which the adults in the building perceived a real opportunity to improve the academic circumstances of their students were able to transform their schools in more substantial ways than in those schools in which the adults perceived little hope for increasing student learning”
  • Schools that had made significant progress in raising student achievement all made intentional efforts to ensure no student fell behind.

Principals and teachers were aware that:

  • Some students might need extra time and assistance to master core elements of the curriculum. They organized instruction to provide opportunities for students who needed them.
english language learners in high school
English Language Learners in High School
  • Need a period of adjustment to the education system and to the social environment of this country.
  • Need an atmosphere that fosters language learning, acculturation and a healthy self-esteem.
trauma and low self esteem they have experienced
Trauma and Low Self-EsteemThey have experienced:
  • Immigration experience
  • Alienation
  • Loneliness
  • Fear
  • Insecurity
  • Building their self-esteem is an important factor in their success in the United States.
a well structured program is extremely important
A well – structured program is extremely important
  • The students may not know the grading system
  • Social customs
  • Do not know where to go for classes, cafeteria, etc.
what can i do to make them feel comfortable and give them a sense of belonging
What can I do to make them feel comfortable and give them a sense of belonging
    • Acknowledge their culture, country, and language
    • Make eye contact while teaching
  • Do not sit newcomers in the back of the classroom


  • Bewilderment
  • Overcompensation
  • Regression
  • Biculturalism
krashen s affective variables he notes three affect variables that influence language acquisition
Krashen’s Affective VariablesHe notes three “affect variables that influence language acquisition:
  • Self-esteem: Students with high self-esteem view themselves as capable learners and are more apt to take risks.
  • Motivation: Motivated students are more focused and take greater risks.
  • Level of Anxiety: Anxiety inhibits language acquisition. Anxious students tend to focus on form rather than communication, and take fewer risks.
sheltered instruction
Sheltered Instruction
  • “The term sheltered indicates that such instruction provides refuge from the linguistic demands of mainstream instruction, which is beyond the comprehension of English-language learners.” (Echevarria & Graves 1998).
comprehensible input
Comprehensible Input
  • Language that is used in ways that make it understandable to the learner even though second language proficiency is still limited.
    • use visuals, realia, manipulatives, and other concrete materials.
    • use gestures, facial expressions, and body language.
    • repeat, rephrase, and/or paraphrase key concepts, directions, etc.
    • build on what students already know.
    • be careful of idioms and slang.
    • Be enthusiastic !
Meaning is to be conveyed directly in the target language through the use of demonstration and visuals.
  • Make your instructional talk more understandable by speaking clearly.
  • Repeat key points
  • Define essential vocabulary in context
  • Pair your talk with nonverbal communication cues:

objects, pictures, graphs, and


verbal and nonverbal communication
Verbal and nonverbal communication
  • When we pair these two communication channels, words and meanings become discernible to the learner.
modify your speech
Modify your speech:
  • use shorter, less complex sentences for students in the earlier stages.
  • use slightly slower rate of speech, being careful to maintain the natural rhythm and flow of the language.
  • use longer, but natural, pauses.
    • Maintain a low anxiety level
student engagement
Student Engagement
  • Studies have found that the degree to which students are actively engaged in learning has a strong impact on levels of student achievement.
  • Creating a climate that fosters student engagement:
  • Construct smaller learning communities
  • De-emphasize competition
  • Try to make the information relevant to their lives - Learning occurs best when connections are made to existing knowledge.
  • Make the students a part of the situation.
  • Acknowledge their input – Positive feedback is a powerful influence on the brain’s chemistry. It is essential for the development of a good self-concept (Sylwester 1997).
classroom strategies for beginning readers
Classroom strategies for beginning readers:
  • Thematic Approach
  • Language-experience approach
  • Patterned Poems
  • Illustrating stories and poems
  • Direct Listening-Thinking Activity (DL-TA)
  • Cause and Effect Chart
  • Pantomime
  • Reader’s theater
  • Story map
  • Venn Diagram

(NJCCS 3.1)

classroom strategies for intermediate readers
Classroom strategies for intermediate readers:
  • Thematic Approach
  • Anticipation Guide
  • Cognitive mapping
  • Literature Circles
  • Jigsaw Reading
  • Direct Reading-Thinking Activity (DR-TA) (Fluency)
  • Literature response journals
  • Developing scripts for reader’s theater. (Fluency)
  • Adapting Stories into plays and scripts for film and videotape.)
  • Literacy Centers

(NJCCCS 3.1)

thematic approach
Thematic approach
  • Choose a theme – Incorporate multiple curriculum areas.
  • Allows all learning experiences to be interrelated and more meaningful to the students.
  • It can incorporate higher-level thinking skill, open-ended activities, cooperative learning, writing , research, and individualized learning.
thematic unit
Thematic Unit

Example - Rainforest

  • Language Arts/Social Studies/Technology/Art
  • Science/Art/Language Art
  • Art/Science
  • Social Studies/Technology/Language Arts-Webquest
  • Mathematics/Technology
  • Health
language experience approach
Language Experience Approach

- discussion bases on the content of the text

- review vocabulary found in the reading

- students summarize the reading or story

for the teacher, who acts as a scribe and

writes sentences on the board or chart


(NJCCCS 3.1, 3.2)

target learning strategies
Target Learning Strategies

Cause-Effect Chart

  • Planning
  • Using background knowledge
  • Taking notes
  • Summarizing

Teachers – To preview or review material

Students – To take notes or to organize their

thoughts before writing

target learning strategies21
Target Learning Strategies

Jigsaw Reading (Arronson, 1978)

  • Cooperating with peers
  • Summarizing
  • Self-assessment

More material is covered in less time

Venn Diagram

  • Comparing, Contrasting, and Analyzing
target learning strategies22
Target Learning Strategies

Anticipation Guide

  • Using background knowledge
  • Predicting
  • Making inferences
  • Self-evaluation

Jigsaw Reading

  • Cooperating with peers
  • Summarizing
  • Self-assessment
literature circles
Literature Circles
  • Students are assigned one role for each discussion period.
  • The groups stay together for one novel.
  • Major roles for each discussion team include Questioner, Passage Master, Word Wizard and Artful Artist.
  • Roles can change depending on the book and the level of the students
  • Students take different roles for different discussion days.
  • All the students take different roles for different discussion days (all learn to look for vocabulary, all learn to develop questions and serve as Discussion Director, etc.)

(Daniels, 1996 & Daniels and Bizar, 1999) (NJCCCS 3.2)

readers theater
Readers’ Theater

” This form of oral reading deepens students’ understanding of characters’ emotions and personalities and helps them to communicate to an audience.”

  • Text is turned into dialogue and divided into parts for different readers.
  • Some parts should be reserved for the narrator.

(Middle-grade students can create their own Readers’ Theater scripts).

  • Prompts can be used – hats scarves, etc.
  • Students sit on chairs or stools as they read their parts.

(Blachowicz & Ogle, 2001)

pantomime mimicking without words
PantomimeMimicking without words
  • Helps students deepen their involvement with the text
  • A way for students to respond as they read
  • Students stand up at intervals and transform the story being read by the group into a physical image.
  • Class first reads a section of the story, then each small group meets and creates its own pantomime of that section.
  • Share one at a time with the whole class.
  • At the end, the teacher asks each group to create a prediction for what will happen in the next part of the story which can be pantomime by the groups again.
  • As a way of retaining vocabulary – Ask the students to pantomime vocabulary words.

(Blachowicz & Ogle, 2001)

phonics instruction for english language learners
Phonics Instruction for English Language Learners
  • The purpose of phonic instruction is to help students recognize words independently, not to have them state rules.
  • Principles:

- Provide ample time for students to read and write for meaningful purposes, allowing. students to develop their own understanding of sound/symbol correspondences.

- Teach phonics within a meaningful context. Enjoy the story or poem for meaning first, then teach the skill.

- Remember that phonics and other word recognition strategies are a means to an end: comprehension.

(NJCCCS 3.1) (Peregoy and Boyle, 2000)

recognizing words independently
Recognizing Words Independently
  • Poems and song lyrics written in large format on chart paper

(to teach sight words, to develop word recognition and phonics knowledge).

  • Predictable books with repetitive patterns and phrases to teach or reinforce sound/symbol correspondences, including consonants, vowels, and letter sequences found in rhyming words.
  • Ask the students to write their own stories following the pattern in predictable books that they have heard several times. This will provide a chance for the students to put their phonics and sight word knowledge into meaningful practice.
  • Older students who are new to literacy – Same strategies. Short texts with age-appropriate content. Fortunately by Remy Charlip.
    • Song lyrics and poems – Good sources of predictable texts. (NJCCCS 3.1)
first language
First Language
  • “During the initial years of exposure to English, continuing cognitive and academic development in first language is considered to be a key variable for academic success in second language.”

(Garcia 1994; Tinajero & Ada, 1993. In Collier, 1995)

  • Later on, apply the techniques used to teach English as a second language.

Quiero leer y escribir en mi idioma

writing in a second language
Writing in a Second Language
  • Strategies to assist beginning writers:
    • Oral discussion
    • Personal journals
    • Dialogue journals
    • Buddy journals
    • Free writing (NJCCCS 3.2)
strategies to assist intermediate writers
Strategies to assist intermediate writers
  • Show and not tell - Provides descriptive details about what the writer wants to convey.
  • Sentence combining
  • Sentence shortening
  • Sentence models
  • Process Writing:





-Publishing (NJCCCS 3.2)

literacy success
Literacy Success
  • Create a literacy-rich classroom environment.
  • Books, books, books…
k w l plus
  • Recognizing what they have learned by making a graphic organizer.
  • Select categories and list facts under those categories (rethinking what they have learned).
  • Write an essay (additional opportunities to consolidate learning).
initial strategies to teach english comprehension to english language learners
Initial Strategies to Teach English Comprehension to English language Learners

Pre-reading Strategies

  • Background Knowledge

Necessary to


meaning from text.

  • Development of key vocabulary
  • Background Knowledge – Teacher builds upon the language, culture and experiential background that students bring to the classroom and relate knowledge to new information provided in the text.

(NJCCCS 3.1)

Students may experience difficulties due to lack of prior knowledge on the particular topic to be read.
  • Background knowledge can often be accomplished through a sharing of the groups’ knowledge.
  • It may be recorded in a graphic format.
guided reading strategies
Guided Reading Strategies
  • Use questions before and during the reading to help the students to get meaning from the reading.
  • Hypothesizing or predicting questions. What do you think this story is about? What do you think will happen next?
  • Data acquisition questions
  • Summary questions
  • Reading aloud – Teacher model predicting, inferring, and connecting mew text to prior knowledge.

(NJCCC 3.1)

post reading strategies
Post-Reading Strategies
  • Retelling a story after reading

- Offers a means for reinforcing and

supporting comprehension.

- Provides a means for integrating writing into

the program. It can be done in cooperative

learning groups, paired writing, or individually.

  • Building on the knowledge gained through the prereading activities.
  • More reading (NJCCCS 3.1)
  • Teacher should take into consideration:
    • The student’s English language developmental level
    • The prevalence of the error type
    • The importance of the error type for communication
    • Teacher’s specific goals for the students in terms of English language development
    • Should be corrected in a non-threatening way
    • Repeat correctly what the student has said incorrectly
  • Portfolio Assessment
  • Multiple Measures for Assessment

- Do not assess only through written tests.

If you do not assess the English language

learners in many different ways, you will

not find out what they really know.

  • Observations

- Anecdotal records

- Check lists

- Concrete materials. Opportunities to

demonstrate that they understood the


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  • Friedlander, M. (1991). The Newcomer Program: Helping Immigrant Students Succeed in U. S. Schools.
  • Carrasquillo A. and Rodriguez V. (2002). Language Minority Students in the Toronto: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
  • Coolier, V. (1995). Promoting academic success for ESL students. NJTESOL/NJBE
  • Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books.
  • Krashen, S., and Terrell, T. (1983). The Natural Approach. Hayward: The Alemany Press.
  • Peregoy, S. F. and Boyle, O. F. (2000). Reading, Writing, and Learning in ESL. New York: Longman.
  • Rothman, B. Practical phonics strategies to build beginning reading and writing skills. BER.
  • Sternberg, R. J. (1994). Allowing for Thinking Styles. Educational Leadership 52, 3.
  • Sylwester, R. (1997). The Neurobiology of Self-Esteem and Aggression. Educational Leadership 54 (5), 75-79.
  • Tomlinson, C. A. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. ASCD.
  • Walter, T. (2004). Teaching English Language Learners. Longman.
  • Willis, S. and Mann, L. (2000). Differentiating Instruction. In Curriculum by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Weinberger, S. (1992). Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.