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How do ELL students learn to read?

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Lisa Gregory

on 1 July 2015

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Transcript of How do ELL students learn to read?

Independent Word Knowledge:
vocabulary knowledge is transferred to the learning of new words during independent reading (a combination of above strategies) Ex. personal dictionaries
ELLs on the Rise
Writing Difficulties
"Writing instruction of English Language Learners has become one of the most urgent issues in today's educational practice" (Mei Lin, 2015).

As a result ELL students have different writing needs and need the support of direct instruction and writing activities to enhance the students writing process and performance.

Writing difficulties that ELL students most commonly experience are....

Selecting the right word to express ideas and thoughts correctly within the context of a sentence.
Adjusting writing patterns from native language to American writing patterns. (Direct and Concise reasoning, organizing ideas in a logical sequence)
Have great difficulty in writing fluency and express ideas fully.
Frustration over writing errors and writing mechanics which causes them to sacrifice meaning and creativity .
Spelling errors as a result of syllabication and unfamiliar spelling patterns.

What educators can do to help ELL students with writing.

Model word choosing strategies that help students selected appropriate words to express meaning, purpose and audience.
Provide students with a variety of writing and reading opportunities that allow them to see how information is organized and to improve writing fluency.
Use mentor texts and writing journals to help ELL students learn about American culture and language.
Provide supportive writing environment through brainstorming, drafting, revising and editing to help ELL students learn and feel comfortable writing.

- the number of words retained with surface meaning
ELL's Perceptions
The Power of Choice!

Balance between structure and scaffolding (student choice w/ progress toward goal)
Student-generated questioning (guides learning to their interests)
Desire to read content over simpler language
Discussion and interactive activities (affect motivation and prompt student interaction which encourages language experimenting by ELLs)
Parent expectation
Rebecca, Lisa,
Philip, & Annie

How do ELL students learn to read?
Using Children's Books
Example: Every time the book says "Can you do it," the child says "I can do it" as he imitates the animal in the book.
= how easily ELLs can directly interact with the book without teacher assistance
Students are less dependent on teacher accommodations when using a good
Metacognition includes: thinking about the learning process, the planning and monitoring of learning, and evaluation of learning.
Text Structures
A 2006 report by the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth shows that ELL students are often able to perform at or even above the level of their English-speaking peers in the areas of spelling and word recognition, but tend to struggle more in the areas of reading vocabulary and comprehension. (Dreher and Gray, 2009)

As a result researchers and educator have studied how compare and contrast informational text structures can impact ELL student learning.

They decided to teach compare and contrast for two reason.

1. Research has suggested that, of the most common expository text structures is compare and contrast structure as it is traditionally more difficult for ELL students to understand.

2. Once ELL students have basic understanding of compare and contrast text structure educators can use this knowledge to bridge the gap
between students prior knowledge and new content.

A compare and contrast text structure lesson should include...

Explicit instruction through modeling think aloud activities that allow ELL students to think about the differences and similarities of objects/ideas being compared

The use of graphic organizers (Venn Diagram) allows students to see the process of how to organize compare and contrast information

Opportunities to have ELL students practice reading compare and contrast texts to allow them to understand how ideas are written and organized within an informational text.

To activate and extend background knowledge educators can use books that use compare and contrast text strategies to help students make connections between prior knowledge and new content they are learning. This helps ELL students gain a deeper understanding of the new content and allows them to stay engaged and motivated.

Compare and contrast text structures also help to expand ELL students vocabularies and understanding the differences between general academic and content specific vocabulary.

Homemade Bilingual Picture Books- not all books have a bilingual version; create!
Ask students to add pictures to a story.
Graphic Organizers & Visuals
Pang, Y. (2013). Graphic organizers and other visual strategies to improve young ELLs' reading comprehension.
New England Reading Association Journal,
48(2), 52-58.
Braker, J.C. (2013). Linking vocabulary acquisition with word knowledge to improve reading comprehension for ELLs.
Illinois Reading Council Journal
, 42(1), 28-36.
- the amount of understanding of a word; meaning, syntax, spelling, and morphology
The more words a learner knows, the more likely they are to have a deep understanding of some of these words.
- every day words, commonly used
- academic words, content words
Building vocabulary must focus on the student's knowledge of their native language. Ex: cognates
(Braker, 2013)
"In order for students to understand a text independently, they need to comprehend about 95% of the words," (Braker, 2013).
Reading comprehension involves both bottom-up and top-down approaches.
Direct Teaching:
prefixes, suffixes, and root words
Extensive Reading (Wide Reading):
reading and being read a variety of text and literature to help develop exposure to vocabulary
Meaningful Use:
learning vocabulary through direct experiences, and interacting with the definitions
: Repeated exposure to vocabulary words leads to automaticity.
Vocabulary Instruction
(Braker, 2013)
Must be direct (explicit teaching of vocabulary and word knowledge) AND indirect (exposure to text and experiences with vocabulary).
Most language acquisition comes from
indirect instruction.
Background Knowledge:
Discussion of cognates helps students infer word meanings in English.
"The development of reading skills in ELL children is very similar to the development of reading skills in children with English as their first language," (Jang, et. al., 2013).
Both are influenced by learners' oral language skills and metacognitive skills related to reading. It's just more difficult for ELL students.

(Pang, 2013)
Factors Influencing Development
Age at which learning is being exposed to language learning activities and instruction
Amount of available support at home and school
Amount of time it takes to develop skills
"ELLs can achieve basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) within 2 years of learning another language, while the acquisition of cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) that they need to succeed in an academic context that matches the level of their native-speaking peers takes between 5 to 7 years to master," (Jang, et. al., 2013).
Exposure to other languages and cultures at home
"According to a recent report, 10% of total enrollment of public schools (Pre-K-12) in 2009-2010 were ELLs, which is 2% higher than in 2000-2001; in other words, there is a 21% increase of ELLs over the decade, (Hong-Nam, 2014).
Jang, E. E., Dunlap, M., Wagner, M., Kim, Y., Gu, Z. (2013). Elementary school ELLs' reading skill profiles using cognitive diagnosis modeling: Roles of length of residence and home language environment.
Language Learning, 63(n), 400-436.
(Jang, et. al.,2013)
(Jang, et. al.,2013)
Hong-Nam, K., (2014). ELL high school students' metacognitive awareness of reading strategy use and reading proficiency.
The Electric Journal for English as a Second Language, 18(1), 1-16.
(Hong-Nam, 2014)
Metacognitive processing helps students reflect on thinking before, during, and after reading.
Visual Representations of Vocabulary and Concepts:
Students used re-reading and underlining or circling of information to help them better understand and remember.
-Use pictures to show meaning of vocabulary words.
= apple
-Use pictures to illustrate abstract concepts. Ex. Showing pictures of the first Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, and Native Americans with labels to help put pictures to vocabulary.
Students also visualized information, read aloud, recognized organizational patterns, and used evidence to support understanding
"Using metacognitive strategies can be even more challenging when ELLs undertake reading as independent readers and learners," (Hong-Nam, 2014).
Graphic Organizers Help With:
organizing ideas
comprehend by classification
analyzing problems in the story
sequence and ordering
discussion about literature
making connections
Howard, R. M. (2012). ELLs perceptions of reading.
Reading Improvement,
49(3), 113-126.
Other Helpful Visuals:
Lado, A. (2009). Children's picture books and ELLs: Comparing minimal style texts.
International Journal of the Book
, 6(4), 51-54.
Puzzles (relevant)
Tangible props
Puppet shows/Dramatizations
(Lado, 2009)
text is
Pictures of interest to ELL or that pertain to their background knowledge
Some pictures make understanding more difficult.
Books that can be directly experienced and promote participation
Prefer autonomy and self-efficacy practices to learn
Enjoy visuals
Like fiction and graphic novels
Want books w/ content that interest them (have them read the back to decide, recommendations from peers, literacy circles, book clubs, etc.)
Dislikes long, difficult texts, and nonfiction
Want high expectations and positive attitudes from teachers
Dreher, J. M., Gray, L.J., (2009). Compare, contrast, comprehend;using compare-contrast text structures with Ells in k-3 classrooms.
The Reading Teacher
. 63(2), 132-141.
(Howard, 2012)
Mei Lin, S., (2015). A study of ELL students writing difficulties; A call for culturally, linguistically and psychologically responsive teaching.
College Student Journal
. 49(2). 237-250.
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