When faced with the challenge of teaching young ELL students how to read, the first question one must ask is about the purpose of this skill, as it can be used in two ways: one is to be able to communicate in English on a social level and the other is for academic purposes. And what is the difference, you might wonder?
1. Social Purposes: In this case, ELL students are part of a conversational program and most likely are learning to read or already know how to read in their native tongue. With these learners, the focus isn’t on developing phonemic awareness or decoding skills, it is about building vocabulary through word recognition by being exposed to the same words over and over again. Vocabulary taught are often centered around themes such as weather, sports, food, etc., and serve to allow learners to communicate with peers in English.
2. Academic Purposes: In this instance, ELL students are in a mainstream classroom and are being taught to read following the same process as native English speakers, regardless of whether they can read in their mother tongue, and the focus is on developing phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary building and comprehension skills. For these students, learning to read isn’t so much about recognizing and using words in a social setting as it is about academic survival and being able to move through the reading programs set out by a school.
With these two scenarios explained, the question remains, which type of learner needs are you trying to address? If the answer is teaching your ELL students to read in a mainstream classroom, then our collection beginning reader ebooks, reading videos and assessment tools may just be the answer you are looking for in terms of supporting your learners. And what makes our resources different from all the rest?
The Right Reading Materials
When searching for the right materials for beginning reader ELL students it can be a challenge to find ones that are scaffolded in their progression so that learners have the opportunity to master each letter sound or group of sounds before moving on to the next. Because of this, our free online Emergent and Transitional Readers eBooks move at a slow pace and build from one word to two words to three words, etc., eBooks to allow for vocabulary building and integration of new sight words to transpire organically, thus eliminating a lot of the stress that can be caused when both learning to read and learning English at the same time.
Learn more about our Emergent and Transitional Readers eBooks.
Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Skills
Vocabulary Building and Reading Comprehension
When looking for suitable learning videos for ELLs it can be frustrating to find the right fit, since videos can contain additional language and explanations that students struggle to follow, or the videos may move too quickly, or don’t allow the student to practice putting vocabulary learnt into context, which is what makes our learn-to-read videos ideal. The reading videos that are part of our program focus only on learning and understanding vocabulary presented within our beginning readers eBooks. In each video, words are repeated multiple times and shown alongside pictures with the aim of vocabulary building, and in our comprehension focused videos, words are presented within a question/answer format so that learners may practice vocabulary in an oral and communicative context. For example, if the CVC word presented was “cut,” the question/answer format would be:
Question: “What can you do?”
Answer: “I can cut.”
In this way, ELLs not only practice the CVC word (cut) itself, but learn how to use it within a spoken context. See sample videos below.
Learn more about our Reading Videos.
Assessing Reading Skills
Assessing the reading skills of ELLs can also be difficult as many of the tools currently being used begin at the sentence level, meaning that a learner must be able to attempt reading a sentence before you can begin to address their specific learning needs. With our editable assessment tools, you can already start to assess student needs as they are learning to read individual CVC, CCVC, CVCC, CCVCC, CVCe, CVV, CVVC and sight words, thus enabling you to see which sounds they may need extra support with and to evaluate their comprehension of words read. To learn more about our assessment tools see – Assessment Forms for Beginning Readers.
With the right set of tools, teaching ELL students how to read can be an easy and enjoyable process. Interested in learning more about our resources? Contact us! Have an educational idea you would like to share with us using our resources? Visit our opportunities section to learn more.