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Teaching Young Language Learners (part 2)
Transcript of Teaching Young Language Learners (part 2)
Teaching reading and writing (chapter 6)
- General consensus: children should learn to read in their mother tongue first
- Reading and writing help to reinforce what pupils are learning orally
- Important for those whose learning is more visual and who like to see words and
phrases written down
How do children learn to read in English as a FIRST language?
During pre-school years:
- written words and signs
- story books with letters / words
- see their parents reading / working on computers
- learn to write their name etc.
Children begin to see reasons and purposes for reading; they are on their way to beginning to decode the system of symbols...
- Oral language proficiency is very helpful: leads to intelligent guesses when
attempting to read
- Letter and sound correspondence is not direct and consistent (e.g. height/weight,
enough/thought): learning to read + write in English takes a long time!
English primary schools teach:
Letter - sound correspondence patterns:
- in songs and rhymes (e.g. Hey diddle diddle, Rain rain go away, It's raining it's pouring)
- in grouped words (e.g. cat, bat, mat, sat, pat, hat, flat)
- in traditional nursery rhymes like "Jack and Jill", "Humpty Dumpty"
For words that are irregular: the "whole word method" = sight vocabulary (to see and remember words as visual images)
Teaching reading to young language learners:
- remember their experience with reading in their first language
- they have knowledge of the Roman alphabet
Reading activities with younger children:
- Word cards to label objects in the classroom
- Posters with common phrases (e.g. come here; it's your turn,
sit down etc.)
- Calendar, class birthday chart, English notice board
- Letter cards / magnetic letters
- Memory card game; dominoes
- Children follow the text while listening to a recording
The English alphabet: enables them to spell words!
With young learners:
progress slowly with reading!
It's a holistic process (also involves predicting, noticing patterns, guessing etc.) Include crafting, coloring, body movements and sounds!
Reading activities for older children:
Apart from word level / sentence level practice:
- exercises to skim / scan texts
(skimming = glancing over/global reading;
scanning = looking for specific information e.g.
a date, a name, a place etc.)
- reading passages and correcting sentences
- true / false statements
- using cues, strategies
- dictionary work
Teaching writing: children who begin to read enjoy writing too!
Therefore mostly taught in parallel.
- first tracing and copying
- then word level writing: word snakes / letters mixed up / written
backwards / puzzles, gap-filling, matching pictures with words/
- finger writing (multi-sensory approach!)
- guided writing (kind of framework)
Writing activities with older children:
First practice with word and sentence level writing
Then ready for freer writing!
Examples: filling in captions in speech bubbles; writing instructions, scripts, shopping lists, recipes, puzzles, simple diaries
Computers and the Internet are useful
Writing can also be used for record keeping: lists of new words; reflection (e.g. I enjoyed ....., I learnt a lot from ..., I didn't like ...., next I'd like to learn .... etc.)
You should explore fun options for homework next to regular homework!
Teaching grammar and vocabulary (chapter 7)
- Why are native speakers fluent?
They put words together quickly in typical
- Grammar and vocabulary are stored together in the
mental lexicon in typical combinations, not in
- Therefore: teach grammar and vocabulary together
- Picking up words .... knowing words
(e.g. "anteater" in a story)
- Children from different language backgrounds go through the same processes and make similar mistakes when learning grammar!
- Practice: opportunities to reproduce patterns and vocabulary before expressing themselves more freely
- Recycling / revising should remain fun, not a simple repetition of activities from previous classes.
For younger children:
Grammar and vocabulary should be taught in a holistic way: in the context of a story: expose them to grammar without the pressure of using it. No analyzing or separate component parts.
Vocabulary: introduce things they can see, feel, play with, touch and experience every day.
- Rhythm aids vocabulary learning even more than rhyme!
Use rich input, i.e. songs, rhymes, rhythmical stories: children
can move and clap to follow the rhythm
- How can new words interact with words they already know:
connection to their network
- Mindmaps / spiders , posters, board and card games,
* I went to the market and bought ....
* For my birthday I would like ...
* In the zoo I saw ....
* In my cupboard there are ...
For older learners:
Start when they show an active interest in grammar forms (why is this?) or consider the grammar they are learning in Dutch.
- Move away from "here and now": new words that are not
visible or touchable; abstract nouns (e.g. friendship,
- Use dictionaries or paraphrasing; compare English / Dutch
- Specific grammar activities: jumbled up words; complete
sentences, puzzles etc.
How do children learn to read and write in Dutch?
Describe the process in general in your own words.
Go to www.poetry4kids.com
Find a few nursery rhymes with good examples of letter-sound correspondence
Prepare one of these games to play in tomorrow's class!