Reading: Grades K - 3 - UM Drive

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Reading: Grades K
-

3


Considerations

|
Strategies

|
Literature Review


Considerations for ELLs

From kindergarten through grade 3, learning to read is a particularly intense endeavor for
both teachers and learners. During this critical time p
eriod, students are "cracking the code"
and building the foundations for lifelong literacy. To support this process, effective teachers
carefully integrate reading into daily classroom activities, capitalizing on how reading,
writing, speaking, and listeni
ng support one another. As you read these practices, consider
how children learn many things through emulation. You serve as a literacy model for your
students to emulate when you read, write and talk about your thinking processes

ELLs who have not learne
d to read in their primary or home language face the enormous
challenge of acquiring the initial concepts and skills of literacy in English, a language they
have not fully mastered. Others who have already developed literacy and academic skills in
their ho
me languages must apply their literacy knowledge to the task of reading English,
with its distinct sound system, spelling patterns, vocabulary, and sentence patterns. In
addition, ELLs often have to make meaning from texts that require cultural knowledge
d
ifferent from their own. Finally, many ELLs find reading difficult because they have not
previously experienced consistent schooling or appropriate instruction in either language.

[TOP]

Strategies

1.

Teachers combine multiple research
-
based methods and strategies into a coherent plan for reading instruction
that meets the diverse learning needs o
f their students.


2.

Teachers use systematic and explicit instruction to develop students' phonemic awareness.


3.

Teachers develop students' phonic skills through systematic instruction on sound
-
symbol relationships,
spending appropriate time to meet individual needs.


4.

Teachers frequently engage students in oral reading to develop their reading fluency.


5.

Teachers use numerous research
-
based methods for both direct and indirect v
ocabulary instruction.


6.

Teachers promote students' reading comprehension through research
-
supported techniques and explicit
strategies.


7.

Teachers use computer technology to support reading instruction.


1. Teachers combine multiple research
-
based methods and strategies into a
coherent plan for reading instruction that meets the diverse lea
rning needs of their
students.

In any class, students represent a range of strengths and instructional needs. Effective
teachers recognize that students, especially ELLs, come to school from varied backgrounds
and with different prior knowledge. Therefore
, multiple approaches to reading instruction are
especially important. For example, teaching ELLs to recognize and use cognates ("sister
words" that share origins and meanings across languages) gives students a valuable
comprehension strategy. Spanish
-
spea
king students and students who speak other Latin
-
root languages have a great advantage when they are able to read and understand words
like
ancient

and
enormous

because of the Spanish cognates
anciano

and
enorme
. But for
ELLs from other language background
s, teachers need to provide additional explanations,
definitions, and examples of these same words. In contrast, proficient English speakers
might already know these words or infer their meaning from the context of the reading
material.

Some beginning ELL

readers benefit from approaches that reinforce the relationships
between experience, talk, and print. For example, in the Language Experience approach,
students' attention is focused on an everyday or school experience such as taking a class
walk to colle
ct leaves, blowing bubbles, making popcorn, going to pick apples, or
experimenting with magnets. The teacher leads a discussion of the experience, eliciting
narratives from the students and supplying needed vocabulary. Discussion culminates in the
oral com
position of individual or group stories, which the teacher transcribes and rereads
with students.

In this approach, teachers say things like:

Now let's write about our trip.

We'll decide what we want to say and I'll write it down.

How shall we start?

Sha
ll we start by telling where we went and how we got there?

What should we tell about next?

What was the first thing that happened when we got there?

[TOP]

2. Teachers use sys
tematic and explicit instruction to develop students' phonemic
awareness.

In order to learn to read and write English, a learner must be able to perceive the small
units of sound called
phonemes

that make up spoken words. For example, it is apparent to
th
ose of us who can already read and write English that a word like
boat

has three
component sounds, or phonemes: /b/ /o/ /t/. However, there is evidence that the ability to
perceive a spoken word as a sequence of phonemes varies from individual to individua
l.

In addition to individual differences, phonemic segmentation of English words is particularly
difficult for those with little prior experience listening to English speech sounds. Phonemic
segmentation of English words is also particularly difficult for

those with little experience in
English rhyme, alliteration, or other word play.

ELLs may find it difficult to differentiate certain phonemes of English. For example, /v/ and
/b/ may sound alike to some Spanish speakers, and /l/ and /r/ may be indistingu
ishable to
some Japanese speakers. Similarly, while English speakers would identify
pot

and
spot

as
both containing the phoneme /p/, Hindi speakers might perceive the /p/ in
pot

and the /p/
in
spot

as two distinct phonemes differentiated by the presence or

absence of an initial puff
of air (aspiration). ELLs who experience difficulties with the sounds of English do not require
referral to a speech language pathologist. That is only appropriate for students who have
language difficulties in their native lang
uage as well.

ELLs can develop phonemic awareness through listening to read
-
alouds, songs, poems, and
chants. Listening to the sounds, rhymes, and rhythms of English provides ELLs with the
auditory experiences they need to pronounce and read English. It i
s important for teachers
to understand that listening to well
-
chosen, engaging language creates the necessary
foundation for reading.

Effective teachers explicitly model phonemic segmentation (how to divide words into
individual phonemes). They illustrate

concepts, such as onset (the beginning of a syllable)
and rime (the ending of a syllable), which enable us to rhyme words like
cat, mat, pat,

and
bat

or
low, toe,

and
go
. To further clarify these concepts, teachers often use visual aids and
props, such as

colored blocks or rods, which can physically represent phonological units.

Teachers who familiarize themselves with the similarities and differences between the
students' primary languages and English will be able to anticipate and address areas of
poten
tial confusion. For example, if teachers are aware that the consonant sounds /p/, /b/,
/t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /m/, /n/, /f/, /s/ and /l/ are found at the beginnings of words in both
English and Spanish, teachers may expect Spanish
-
speaking students to be succ
essful in
recognizing and distinguishing them. Knowing that most Spanish words end with a vowel,
not a consonant, teachers can provide extra practice to help Spanish speakers distinguish
and pronounce consonants at the ends of words. Similarly, knowing tha
t in Korean /p/ and
/f/ are not distinct phonemes, teachers can provide extra practice distinguishing between
words such as
pat/fat

and
pill/fill
.

Aware that some English phonemes such as the sounds represented by /th/ in
either

and
ether

are present in f
ew other languages, teachers can demonstrate how the /th/ sounds are
formed (with the tongue and front teeth) and can help their students practice pronouncing
words that feature these sounds.

To obtain information about students' primary languages, teache
rs can consult reference
materials, ask bilingual adults, and listen carefully to sound patterns of English and other
languages.

Effective teachers say things like:

Watch how my lips press together when I say the /b/ sound in ban and berry.
Watch how my
top teeth touch my bottom lip when I say the /v/ sound in van
and very. Now don't watch my lips, just listen. I'm going to say two words. Tell
me if the two words are the same or different:



ban/ban


ban/van


van/van


van/ban


very/very


berry/very


very/berry


berry/berry


Now listen to the sound you hear at the beginning of the word. If you hear /b/,
hold up the card that says B. If you hear the /v/ sound, hold up the card that
says V.



ban


boy


van


very


bell


velvet


village


bunny


We've been talking about words that start with the /m/ sound like mom and
money and mine. Can you tell me some words in Spanish or Polish that start with
the /m/ sound that we hear in mom and mine?

[TOP]

3. Teachers develop students' phonic skills through systematic instruction on
sound
-
symbol relationships, spending appropriate time to meet individual needs.

In order to learn to read English, a learner must be able to conne
ct particular letters and
letter combinations with the component sounds (phonemes) of familiar spoken words. To do
this, an English language learner must:



have a basic oral vocabulary of familiar English words,



be able to accurately perceive these Englis
h words as a sequence of distinct
phonemes,



recognize letters in both their upper and lower case forms,



associate particular letters and letter combinations of the Roman alphabet with the
phonemes they represent in English,



decode and identify the spoke
n English word that is represented by a combination of
printed letters, and



practice and develop the ability to automatically identify English words seen frequently
in print.

Students must also be aware of the various and most frequent letter combination
s that
represent particular sounds as in m
ee
t, m
e
t
e
, and m
ea
t or
f
old,
ph
one and tou
gh
.

Effective teachers are aware that in some languages like Spanish, decoding words is much
easier than in English because the relationships between sounds and letters ar
e more
consistent. This may cause students to try to pronounce silent letters like the
l

in
walk

and
talk

and
should

when they read these familiar words.

Teachers, reading coaches, and administrators are aware that ELLs may need more time
than English
-
pro
ficient students to master the phonological and vocabulary knowledge upon
which phonics instruction builds.

Effective teachers adapt and tailor their phonics instruction to emphasize the sounds that
affect particular language groups in the class. When tea
chers model their writing for
students, teachers think out loud, explicitly discussing the relationship between sounds and
letters.

They say things like:

I'm writing a story about my friend Libby.

I wrote the beginning of the title,
My Friend...


See if
you can help me spell my friend's name: Libby.

Listen to the first sound /l/. What letter is that?

The next sound in her name is /i/. What letter makes the /i/ sound?


We've made a list of words we know that have the sound /sh/.

Let's look at how the so
und is spelled.

What letters make the /sh/ sound in
she

and
show

and
shopping

and
shell
?


Yes, usually, we write /sh/ with
s
-
h

in most words.

But here's an exception. Something is different.

What about these words:
Chicago, chef, machine
.

How is the /sh/ s
ound spelled in these words?

[TOP]

4. Teachers frequently engage students in oral reading to develop their reading
fluency.

Fluency in speaking English is an important fact
or underlying fluent oral reading. Reading
quickly, accurately, and expressively can pose a challenge to ELLs. They need rich
opportunities to listen, speak, and internalize the sounds, rhythms, and patterns of English
over a period of time.

If the vocabu
lary or the sentence patterns of a passage are unfamiliar, ELLs will find it
difficult to read aloud fluently. With repeated exposure and practice, ELLs can develop the
ability to automatically identify English words seen frequently in print.

Even ELLs wh
o are quite proficient in reading comprehension and silent reading in English
may feel self
-
conscious about reading orally, especially in large
-
group settings. Criticism,
ridicule, or public correction is likely to exacerbate anxieties that ELLs may feel a
bout having
an accent or being different.

Effective teachers provide English language learners (ELLs) with opportunities to listen and
follow along as they read stories aloud. To prepare ELLs to read a text orally, teachers read
it to them a few times. Th
e goal is for students to understand the story well and to hear the
sounds and rhythms of the language. Sometimes teachers move their fingers under the text
as they read so that students can match what they hear with what they see. Sometimes
students move
their own fingers under the text as they listen. Such experiences give ELLs
the linguistic information and the confidence they need to practice reading and rereading a
book until they can read it fluently.

Often, teachers have students dictate their stori
es for initial fluency practice because the
language and the concepts will be familiar. Some teachers work with students to standardize
spelling and sentence structure before the stories are practiced and read aloud. Predictable
pattern books also help you
ng ELLs to develop fluency. Other good read
-
aloud choices are
short skits and simple call
-
and
-
response poems, where the teacher reads a more difficult
part and students join in for a predictable refrain

After hearing the text repeatedly, students can read

it with the teacher and then practice
reading it aloud to themselves and others. They can practice reading aloud as a class
chorus, in small groups or pairs, and at home to family members. Librarians, community
volunteers, parents, and "reading buddies" f
rom the upper grades can read with students.
Classmates can also take turns reading aloud with "reading buddies" in class. Hearing their
classmates read aloud often has a motivating effect on ELLs.

[TOP]

5. Teachers use numerous research
-
based methods for both direct and indirect
vocabulary instruction.

Limited vocabulary knowledge is often a major hindrance to reading comprehension for
ELLs. Some ELLs may be able to repeat
or pronounce English words and phrases without
really understanding them. They may be able to decode words and produce the appropriate
sounds without extracting or constructing meaning.

ELLs initially learn word meanings through explicit instruction and r
ich opportunities to
listen, observe, participate, and interact. They link word sounds to meanings through the
context provided by predictable routines, concrete objects, pictures, gestures, physical
movements, and experiential activities. ELLs also learn
word meanings through listening to
repeated readings, explicit explanations, and discussions of picture books on a variety of
fiction and nonfiction topics. Most ELLs acquire the vocabulary involved in daily routines,
play, and social interaction before th
ey learn academic and rare words. Inferring the
meaning of unknown words from context can be difficult for ELLs who may not fully
understand that context.

ELLs need explicit instruction and practice in word analysis. Learning word roots and the
meanings o
f common prefixes and suffixes helps ELLs to understand many unfamiliar words.
Speakers of languages that share commonalities with English, such as Spanish and
Portuguese, may find cognate or "sister words" (e.g.,
intelligent; intelligente
) to be a
valuabl
e resource when reading English.

When English
-
proficient bilingual students explain English word meanings to less
-
proficient
classmates, they are providing a valuable service while increasing their own interpretation
and metalinguistic (about language) sk
ills.

Vocabulary is of critical importance to ELLs. In addition to learning word definitions, ELLs
need repeated exposure to new words in a variety of contexts, as well as opportunities to
use the words in meaningful contexts. Thematic teaching across the

curriculum and reading
many books on the same or related topics are two ways to provide students with repeated
exposure to the same words and to word forms (e.g.
immigrant, immigrate,

and
immigration
).

Effective teachers promote vocabulary learning throu
gh multiple strategies. For example,
they can have students choose which of two newly learned words best applies to a given
situation, discuss semantic features that differentiate close synonyms, and rank words
according to meaningful criteria to help ELLs

achieve deeper understanding.

Teachers say things like:

In the story, is Henrietta
stingy

or
thrifty
? Explain your choice.

What do the words
feast

and
snack

have in common?

How are they different?

In addition, teachers provide explicit explanation of po
tentially confusing words such as
homophones (e.g.,
to, too, two; due, dew, do
) and homographs (e.g.,
wind, wind; sow,
sow
). They also help students match pronunciations with print forms of words (e.g.,
debris,
chaos
). Explicit instruction and practice in
word analysis, including word roots and the
meanings of common prefixes and suffixes, help ELLs understand many unfamiliar words.

Cognates are "sister words" sharing common origins and meanings across languages.
Recognizing and using cognates is a valuabl
e comprehension strategy that can and should
be taught to students. Students have a great advantage when they read words like
ancient

and
enormous

and are able to understand them because of their Spanish cognates
anciano

and
enorme
. However ELLs and their
teachers should be aware that some words appear to
be related but are not. The English word
pie

(a dessert) and the Spanish word
pie

(a foot)
are examples of such false cognates.)

To promote word awareness, teachers:



have frequent vocabulary discussions,




encourage students to ask questions about words,



develop word webs, lists, and semantic feature charts with students.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge the contribution and skill of bilingual students who
provide translations to less proficient s
tudents who need and want such help. Translating
develops the linguistic skills of the interpreter and may provide less
-
proficient students with
access to academic content.

[
TOP]

6. Teachers promote students' reading comprehension through research
-
supported
techniques and explicit strategies.

An individual student's reading comprehension varies from text to text. One important
variable is prior knowledge of the topic. When s
tudents read about familiar topics and
cultural contexts, they comprehend and retain information better than when they read about
topics of which they have little or no background knowledge.

Other factors that affect students' ability to comprehend are th
e presence of unknown
vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, complex sentence structure, and an unfamiliar style such
as a formal academic style or a regional dialect. Texts vary in the degree to which they
provide background information or require that reader
s have the knowledge necessary to
"fill in the blanks." This is especially true for ELLs.

The following eight types of comprehension instruction identified by the National Reading
Panel (2000) are highly appropriate for ELLs but may require additional sca
ffolding and
practice:

1.

Graphic organizers

2.

Story structure

3.

Question answering

4.

Question generating

5.

Monitoring Comprehension

6.

Summarizing

7.

Cooperative learning

8.

Combinations of the above

Teachers can help ELLs increase reading comprehension in a number
of different ways.
Effective teachers of ELLs examine reading selections ahead of time for linguistic features
and cultural material that may require explanation prior to reading. Often, teachers assess,
activate, and build students' background knowledge t
hrough the use of pre
-
reading
discussion of illustrations, titles, or issues. It is beneficial to precede nonfiction readings with
demonstrations, visual media, or experiential activities related to the topic. Students are
more successful readers when they

have a framework for understanding the new
information presented in the text.

It is important to find reading material with settings, characters, problems, and topics that
are familiar or meaningful to students. When teachers help students to select thei
r own
reading materials, teachers promote students' motivation, enjoyment, and sense of efficacy.

Graphic organizers and story maps provide support to ELLs who may tend to get lost in the
words and not see organizing ideas or patterns. Effective teachers
are aware that these
devices work best with repeated explanations of their purpose and demonstrations of use.
They introduce graphic organizers and story maps by applying them first to easy or familiar
texts. This enables students to focus on learning why
and how to use these organizers
before applying them as tools for comprehending more demanding texts.

Summarizing is a valuable and surprisingly difficult skill that teachers must model and
explain. Teachers explicitly discuss their decisions about what c
onstitutes the main points in
a summary. To become effective summarizers, ELLs need instruction in combining sentences
and in the use of superordinates, so that they can use category words (e.g.,
relatives,
hobbies, injuries, mammals, countries
) rather tha
n enumerating lists.

Learning to answer and generate questions about the text can be very productive for ELLs.
Teacher modeling and guided practice help students gain an understanding of how to ask
productive questions in various linguistic forms (e.g.,
W
hy John went West?/ Why did John
go West?/ Why do you think John went West?
).

When teachers ask students to provide evidence from the text to support their opinions,
students read and reread more closely.

Effective teachers say things like:

You said that
in the story John is angry.

What pictures, words, or sentences show us that he might be angry?

Do we know what he's angry about? How do we know?

Can you find any words or sentences that tell us that?

[TOP]

7. Teachers use computer technology to support reading instruction.

Computer programs and multimedia products (e.g., books with audiotapes) enable ELLs and
others to develop reading skills through the synergistic effects o
f visual images, printed text,
and audio text. These technological tools allow ELLs to exercise control over the pace of
instruction and to replay or review as many times as they wish without self
-
consciousness.
Having quick access to definitions while rea
ding in some computer programs also helps
students sustain momentum.

Despite the many benefits that technology offers, one pitfall is that it can be isolating. For
ELLs, face
-
to
-
face interaction with others is an important way to learn. Effective teachers

have students work at computers or listening centers in pairs or small groups, where talking
with each other about the activities and their content provides an important social
dimension.

Much educational software is now available in multiple languages.
Bilingual students often
enjoy using both primary language and English versions. Comparing texts enables them to
confirm their comprehension and to increase metalinguistic awareness.

Carefully guided Internet visits provide access to reading materials on
a wide range of
motivating topics at various reading levels and in multiple languages. Like pen pals, "key
pal" arrangements with other "sister" classrooms also provide great connections, reading
material, and learning opportunities.

[TOP]

Literature Review

There is general agreement that becoming a proficient reader in a second language is a
difficult task.
Snow, Burns, and Griffin (1998)

and
August and Hakuta (1997)

underscore the
enormous cognitive challenge faced by young ELLs who must acquire oral and

literacy skills
in English simultaneously. ELLs who are already literate in a home language are able to
transfer some of their skills for use in English reading (
Garci
a, 2000
), but that does not
imply that learning to read well in English will be an easy task. Reading involves the use of
both "higher level cognitive knowledge, ... abilities... and learning strategies," as well as
"low level linguistic knowledge and pro
cessing strategies" (
Birch, 2002, p.
x
). Throughout
the elementary grades, ELLs are likely to encounter difficulties with both "high" and "low"
levels of the reading pro
cess, especially as they tackle increasingly complex readings (
Droop
& Verhoeven, 1998
).

Knowledge of the relationships between sounds and letters is essential for lear
ning to read
English (
Ehri, 1998
).
Verhoeven's (1999)

work cautions teachers th
at it is unrealistic to
expect ELLs to decode words independently until they are familiar with the sound system of
English. To help ELLs become adept at using sound
-
letter relationships,
Birch (2002)

recommends practice in a variety of tasks: identifying a particular phoneme in words,
discriminating between that phoneme and similar ones, linking the sound to the printed
letter, visually discriminating the letter from othe
r visually similar letters, recognizing and
printing the letter in both upper and lowercase forms, finding the letter at the beginnings
and endings of words alone and in connected text, and drawing things that begin with the
letter and labeling them (p. 72
). Other teaching suggestions include: playing games with
rhyming words and alliterative words to develop students' awareness of how sounds
combine to form words (
Antun
ez, 2002
;
Kaufman & Franco, 2004
), and, in the case of
Spanish
-
speaking ELLs, building upon the similarities and differences between the sound
systems of the two lang
uages (
Helman, 2004
).

Many researchers point out the difficulty of comprehending text when one has a limited
vocabulary (
Verhallen & Schoonen, 1993
;
Garcia, 1991
;
McLaughlin, 1993
;
Jimenez, Garcia,
& Pearson, 1995
,
1996
). ELLs

of any age often know too few words or only a single meaning
for a word.
McLaughlin et al. (2004)

have had promising results in increasing ELLs'
vocabulary knowle
dge through an intervention that pre
-
selected challenging and high
-
utility
words from a reading selection. The intervention involved direct teaching of word meanings;
teaching and raising awareness of words with multiple meanings; systemic teaching of word

analysis skills including roots and affixes; engaging students in word games, riddles, and
other activities designed to promote deeper understanding and use of the words in new and
meaningful contexts; and finding the words outside of school. The interven
tion also focused
on increasing Latino students' awareness of Spanish/English cognate words and ability to
use cognate recognition as a legitimate and productive comprehension strategy.

Several researchers have documented that ELLs benefit from cognate re
cognition training
(
García & Nagy, 1993
;
Durgunoglu et al., 1993
).
Kress (2002)

contains a useful reference
list of Spanish
-
English cognates. Similarly,
Au (1993)
,

Nagy (1988)
,
Dixon and Nessel
(1983)
, and others recommend that teachers integrate

vocabulary instruction with content
instruction and with story reading.
Hickman et al. (2004)

describe a successful approach to
teaching vocabulary to primary
-
grade E
LLs during storybook reading. The approach involves
careful selection of several storybooks or informational texts that focus on a theme of
interest to the students in the class and are at a reading level above students' grade level.
Teachers carefully sel
ect from the texts those vocabulary words that students could
encounter and use in other contexts. Over the course of five days, the class previews the
story and the vocabulary words, and the story is read aloud, discussed, re
-
read, and
summarized. Discuss
ions focus on using the vocabulary words and encouraging children to
relate these words to their own life experiences.

Carrell and Eisterhold (1988)

and
Carrell (1983
,
1984
)have demonstrated the positive
impact that prior knowledge of a topi
c or situational context has on ELLs' reading
comprehension. However, stories and other texts often contain cultural contexts and
assumptions that are unfamiliar to young ELLs and make comprehension difficult or
impossible. Researchers advise teachers to s
upport comprehension before students read by
eliciting and building upon ELLs' prior knowledge and experiences relevant to story theme,
setting, and content. Many researchers also support the value of teaching content reading
strategies such as previewing
a chapter before reading it and formulating questions, self
-
monitoring, and using imagery during reading (
Carasquillo et al., 2004
;
Chamot & O'Malley,
1994
;
Echevarria et al., 2000
;
Schifini, 1994
). Researchers agree that teachers should
model and support comprehension before, during, and after reading by teaching text
structures; using graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams, cause and effect charts,

and
story maps; and creating study guides that students can complete (
Carasquillo et al., 2004
).

One recommended approach to increase comprehension and engagemen
t is the use of
culturally relevant texts and multicultural literature (
Au, 1998
,
1993
;
Barrera, 1992
;
Harris,
1994
). Larrick's 1965 landmark article, "The All
-
White

World of Children's Books" (reprinted
in
Muse, 1997
) pointed out that minority children had few opportunities to read about
characters like themselves or see themselves
in these books. In Larrick's review, these
children's books often depicted those minority characters in offensive or demeaning ways.
More recently,
Singer and Smith (200
3)

pointed out that:

Multicultural children's literature provides self
-
affirmation for readers when it
conveys that people like themselves have lives worth knowing about and
worth sharing with others (
Bishop, 1997
;
Tenorio, 1994
). This is particularly
significant for readers who are members of marginalized groups. (p.17)

Daphne Mu
se's book,
Multicultural Resources for Young Readers

(1997)
, contains an
extensive annotated bibliography of such literature likely to engage ELLs readers and to
build up
on their experiences and prior knowledge.

Students' knowledge and experience are the starting points for The Language Experience
Approach to reading, used with beginning English readers of all ages (
Moustafa, 1987
;
Tharp
& Gallimore, 1989
;
Tinaj
ero & Calderon, 1988
). Through questioning, teachers prompt
students to speak about their individual or in
-
class experiences. The teacher writes down
students' oral narratives, and the resulting text becomes the basis of reading instruction.
Often teacher
s plan a group activity (e.g., taking a walk) to provide a common experiential
base for reading.

Hoggard's 1996

review of the "critical attributes of classroom cultur
e" for ESL literacy
learners includes "the teacher as guide," "meaningful literacy experiences, a sense of
ownership," "a community of learners," and "interactive classroom discourse" (pp. 5
-
9).
Other researchers have also highlighted the importance of stu
dent participation in
conversations that relate book themes to students' personal experiences and to other books.
The instructional conversations (IC) approach is one way of structuring such book
-
centered
interactions. Teachers promote general participatio
n in small
-
group discussion by not calling
on children but waiting for them to volunteer to speak, by responding to student
contributions, and by encouraging students to connect their comments to those of previous
speakers and build upon what they said (
Rueda et al., 1992
;
Saunders & Goldenberg, 1999
).
IC also promotes skimming, scan
ning, and careful reading by requiring students to find text
passages that support their opinions and interpretations (
Goldenberg, 1991
,
1992/1993
;
Goldenberg & Gallimore, 1990
). Literature circles are another discussion format that
promotes comprehension and academic language in a social context.
Ruby (2003)

discusses
their effectiveness when properly scaffolded for English language learners.
Gordon (2003)

offers another good example of how teachers can effectively use literature response journals
with English language learners.

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