This course focuses on effective strategies for English language reading instruction. Learn practical techniques and methods for teaching reading in any ELL environment. Explore key issues related to the successful teaching of reading, such as the role of reading within an ELL curriculum and detailed classroom teaching techniques. Topics include, engagement, motivation, modeling, intensive and extensive reading, vocabulary challenges, comprehension skills, reading rate, reading strategies lesson planning, selecting materials and assessment. This course provides many practical approaches and strategies to improve teaching and learning in the ELL reading environment.
ELL Reading: Teaching Strategies for K-12
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I have learned a great deal in this course, and I’m grateful for the many practical applications I now have in my proverbial “teacher’s belt” which will help me to be a more effective teacher. This course has caused me to be more conscientious of creating specific formative feedback measures and giving my students continual and immediate feedback throughout the many stages of learning and testing. An example of how I will put this into action is as follows: earlier in the semester, I gave a reading quiz to my students to test their knowledge and understanding of “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes. It was a formative test to help me figure out if the students were understanding and mastering the reading objectives for that unit. An example of one of the questions was, “Summarize the first paragraph of the story,” and by evaluating my students’ response to this question, I had hoped to be able to see if they understood the first paragraph on a basic, re-tell level (not analysis, but recall). Students wrote their answers to the quiz, and they were not allowed to work with one another. After they submitted the quiz, I gave them both written and oral feedback. I graded each quiz and wrote comments, many of them in the form of questions (such as, “What happened next?” and “What caused this to happen?”). Students had the opportunity to talk with me after they received their graded quizzes back, and they also had a chance to confer with one another. I then asked them to use a different color pen (different from the color pen they originally used to answer the quiz) to correct their answers. They could use me, their peers and the actual text as a resource. However, taking this on-line course has made me realize that the quiz had a number of larger-scale questions (such as, “Summarize the first paragraph” and “Summarize the last page.”), and I now realize that if I added more smaller-scale questions (such as, “Re-tell the first sentence in your own words), I may be able to push my students to be more specific in their retelling. Larger scale questions that ask students to summarize, for example, offer more opportunity for kids to be too general, and one of my major goals as a reading instructor is to ensure that students understand everything they read, not just enough to answer a general / broad-based question. This course has helped me learn how to evaluate textbooks. This is a skill which I hope to put into practice next year when (as I’ve been told) my school will have money to purchase textbooks for the reading program. The seven-step process for creating lesson plans has been invaluable for me, and it has helped me refine and hone lesson plans. Prior to teaching an actual Reading class this year, I had rarely taught reading strategies in my other Language Arts courses. I now see how this was a detriment to my students, and I’ll work to integrate reading strategy instruction in all my Language Arts classes in the future. One reading strategy that has worked particularly well in my Reading classes is highlighting or underlining. Kids love the tactile component of it – grasping a thick highlighter and watching the color splash (intentionally!) over the page. I have students highlight for different purposes with different colors. For example, I’ll have kids highlight the main idea of a paragraph in yellow, supporting ideas in green, and quotes in purple. This works well because it enables me to quickly assess whether or not my students can decipher what the main idea is and also if they understand what a quote is. I’m embarrassed to admit this (as a Language Arts teacher), but I have very rarely had my students use dictionaries. I’ve never worked in a school with a lot of money – I honestly have never worked in a school with class sets of dictionaries, but I am inspired by taking this ELL Reading course, and I’m going to ask my department head this week if we can order some more dictionaries (so far this year, I honestly have only seen one dictionary in the bookroom!). I believe that it’d be an invaluable experience for kids to actually use a physical dictionary (not just the app on their phone) and to have the chance to serendipitously encounter new words while looking up words for class. (CO)
I haven’t taken a course specifically focused on teaching ELL before. I have had many ELL students in class and have worked closely with the ELL department to ensure student learning. This was an interesting course because many of the strategies and practices covered in this course are things that I already do in class; it is encouraging to know that I am on the right track. I will continue to make reading fluency and comprehension a priority. I also have some new ideas for small groups after watching the lesson videos. The difference between intensive and extensive reading, and the benefits of both, was a key learning piece for me. I will definitely use these practices is my teaching. This course was very enjoyable. The lessons were well written and course objectives were clearly met. Journal and forum assignments were clear and well moderated. The key learning I will be taking away from this course is that reading needs to be the focus of language instruction. I am going to try to integrate speaking, listening, and writing as reading reinforcement. I will also try to incorporate Dr. Anderson’s suggestions for motivating readers as well as specific instruction on improving reading rate. I have always assumed that reading rate would naturally improve as students acquire better reading skills, but now I know I can specifically teach this. TX, 2014