What’s Different About Teaching Reading to Students Learning English? Presented By Bob Alexander, ELA Consultant K-12 Curriculum, Instruction, and Instructional Technology NCDPI
By the Numbers • 2000-2001 school year, 8% of the student population identified as English language learners (ELL). • Between 2001-2004 English language proficient (ELP) students PreK-12 grew by 46% in grades PreK-5, by 64% in grades 6-12. • In 2004, 34.2 million people were foreign born. • Less than 75% of eigth grades graduate in five years. • 25% of all high school students read at “below basic” levels. (Capps et al., 2005) (Joftus, 2002)
The National Literacy Panel Findings “…the development of oral language skills and vocabulary knowledge, and opportunities for meaningful learning experiences, are key to developing the literacy skills of English language learners.” (August & Shanahan, 2007)
Low Literacy “…low literacy levels also prevent students from mastering content in other subjects. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many teachers in schools serving large numbers of low-performing students are neither trained to teach reading nor well qualified in the subject they teach.” (Joftus, 2002)
Four Primary Principles of Instruction • Increase comprehension • Increase student-to-student interaction. • Increase higher order thinking and use of learning strategies. • Make connections to students’ background knowledge.
Different Process Ability Level and ability Strategies Same Process Ability Acquisition Strategies So, Bob…What is different?
Essential Components of Successful Reading Programs 5 • Comprehension • Vocabulary • Beginning Reading Skills • Fluency • Content Area Reading and Study Skills
Comprehension Vocabulary Beginning Reading Skills Fluency Content Area Reading and Study Skills Reading First: Phonemic awareness Phonics Vocabulary Fluency Reading comprehension
Using Multiple Methods ofBeginning Reading Instruction • There is no one single method or single combination of methods. • Teachers must have a strong knowledge of multiple methods for teaching reading. • Teachers must have knowledge of their students. • Knowledge + balance of methods = success
Reading is a complex system of deriving meaning from print. The development and maintenance of a motivation to read IRA Position Statement for Second Language Literacy Instruction
Motivation “Motivation (in reading) can be defined as the cluster of personal goals, values, and beliefs with regard the topics, processes, and outcomes of reading that an individual possesses.” –– Guthrie &Wigfield (2000, p. 404, as cited in Kamil, 2003, p. 7)
What's in it for me? Alexander, Bob. Here and Now. 2008
What Can Teachers Do toMotivate Students to Read? • Model good reading practices • Create print–rich environments • Provide a variety of materials for choice
What Can Teachers Do toMotivate Students to Read? Demonstrate incentives that reflect the values of reading, including the following: • Satisfy curiosity • Experience emotional satisfaction • Learn new information • Foster creative and active responses through multiple modes of response
What Can Teachers Do toMotivate Students to Read? • Cash • Moola • Denaros • Coin • Cabbage • Guidas • Scamootz • Payola $
Hard Sounds of the alphabet Exceptions to rules Homophones Figurative language Sentence Construction Number of words Lack of prior knowledge Words with multiple meanings Easy Manipulatives Graphic organizers Pictures Posters Concrete objects High interest materials Gestures and facial expressions Choral reading Vocabulary Readers’ theater The Hard and Easy of Learning English
What’s Different About Comprehension? Some native English speakers may: • Share much of the same knowledge and experiences because they have grown up in the United States (Hirsch, Jr., 2006). • Share many of the same values, beliefs, and attitudes about school and learning because they have attended U.S. schools (Hirsch, Jr., 2006).
Enjoy pleasure reading in English if the topic is one that they would read about in their native language. (Krashen, 1982). Not have the prior knowledge needed to understand written texts because of socioeconomic status, educational background, cultural knowledge, or a combination of these factors. (Kamil, 2003; Peregoy & Boyle, 2001) Benefit from using their native language to discuss a topic before and after reading about it in English. (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998; Tankersley, 2005) Need to learn about a new culture and the ways language is used in social and academic contexts. (TESOL, 1997) What’s Different About Comprehension? Some English Language Learners May:
Not all languages are alphabetic Not all languages share the same syntactic characteristics Reading modes include the same set of three processing dimensions: Visual phonological Syntactic Factors to Keep in Mind
What is NOT considered in reading models: Second Language reader’s prior knowledge of the sound-letter connection in the native language. ELL’s come from around the globe and bring different language experiences with them. Teachers’ need to understand nonnative's reading and writing systems in order to teach English Factors to Keep in Mind
Fluency and English Language Learners English language learners who know how the alphabetic principal works in their first language can transfer this knowledge to their learning to read English. (Birch, 2002)
Fluency and English Language Learners Teachers of English language learners should: • Help students recognize that what they know about their native language can help them with reading English. • Encourage students to read texts related to their native culture. • Model, along with other students, fluent reading of brief text passages.
Setting a purpose for reading Thinking about what you already know about the topic. Thinking about what you do not know about the topic. Concentrating on getting meaning Underling important parts Asking questions as you read. Asking questions about parts you do not understand. Using other info to figure out what you do not understand. Taking notes. Picturing info in your head. Content and English Language Learners Successful Strategies:
Academic language is the key to success in the grade-level classroom. Academic language is not usually learned outside the classroom Most ELL do not have fluency in academic language. Academic language provides students with practice using English. Learning strategies can be taught through academic language instruction. Teaching Academic Language:
Assessment and ELL • The goal of literacy assessment is to— “Help to motivate educators and guide them to understand the larger issues in education, frame important goals, gather multiple kids of evidence, and engage in rich discussions about how to help all students become better readers, writers, listeners, and speakers.” (Winograd, Flores-Duenas, & Arrington, 2003)
What’s Different? Teachers need to discover which content objectives ELL have already achieved. Teachers need to use assessment aligned with students’ language proficiencylevels. 3. recommended Assessments: Performance assessments Portfolio assessments Student-self assessments Modified traditional assessments Assessment and ELL
Testing and ELL • Most standardized tests assess students’ English language proficiency and NOT their content knowledge and skills. • The cultural content of the test questions may not be familiar to students. • The test format may not be familiar to students.
What’s Different? In a “nutshell”: • The same techniques and strategies that work w/ native speakers work with ELL’s, BUT: • Teachers must learn to MODIFY instruction. • Teachers must learn to build in “background”. • Teachers must learn to teach vocabulary (both in the language and the academic language) 4. Teachers should plan instruction that allows ELL students to interact with each other.
What’s Different? • The interaction should be socially, academically, and with a text. • Teachers should still teach the “Big 5”, but they should teach it in a nontraditional order: • Comprehension • Vocabulary • Phonics • Fluency • Content and academic language. (Alexander, B. Interview with Kauffman and Smallwood Jan. 30, 2008. Georgetown)
Teachers need more exposure to ESL, both prior to and during teaching. Instruction for teachers in language acquisition (both at the university and in local professional dev.) Consideration of ELL in all content areas in teacher ed. Programs. Teacher-friendly staff development that is ongoing, consistent, and supportive. Incorporate ELP standards into other state standards and district curriculum. Recommendations:
Mainstream teachers should work together and communicate beyond subject content (PLC’s, Critical Friends Groups, etc.). Closer and more frequent collaboration between ESL and content area teachers. Continued financial support for ESL teachers and ESL programs. Create and cultivate a culture that enforces the idea that ALL content teachers are literacy teachers. (Alexander, B. Interview with Kauffman and Smallwood Jan. 30, 2008. Georgetown) Recommendations: