As I’ve often written, I love the book Sounds Easy and it’s an essential component of how I teach English Language Learner Beginners.
I don’t really follow many of the guidelines in the book about how to use it, but the reproducible sheets are pure gold:
I typically use an inductive model with the worksheets (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching) – after doing a page together, students develop their own categories for the words; then they use a dictionary to add new words that fit into their categories.
Today, I tried a new “twist” that seemed to work well. After students categorized and added new words, I asked them to draw a picture using as many of the objects or actions they had put into their categories. Next, they wrote sentences and, and if they could, a story about the picture.
Here’s an unfinished product of that phonics extension:
Students will next present their drawing and sentences.
It’s by no means a brilliant addition to a phonics exercise, but students seemed to enjoy it and and it made phonics an even more communicative activity.
I often have both English proficient and English Language Learners read texts to each other in my classroom. I’ve done it for several reasons — it promotes accountability because I can see and hear students doing it, working in partners tends to be more engaging for many, students can practice prosody (reading with feeling), and it prompts students to ask for help in pronouncing words that are new to them.
For me, at least, those are plenty enough good reasons to do oral reading in class.
However, I missed a very big obvious one that was highlighted in a post by literacy expert Timothy Shanahan this morning. I’ve long respected his work, and I would strongly encourage you to read his piece, Fluency Instruction for Older Kids, Really?
Here’s an excerpt:
Every time I think I know a lot, a reminder comes along prompting me to reflect on how much I really don’t…
According to Sue Wilkinson, what are the benefits of reading books regularly? Do you agree with her and the research she cites? To support your opinion, you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and anything you have read (including this excerpt).
In addition, the article ends with great guidelines on how people can become more committed readers, and I think that section could be used as its own separate excerpt with a similar writing prompt.
I also think the entire article could easily be summarized in a read aloud accessible to English Language Learners.
I’ve got to say that I continue to think that Fast Company is one of the best, if not the best, sources for accessible and high-interest articles for secondary students. I use their pieces a lot, and you can find many of them in The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.
It has thousands of free Ebooks that students can read, and it also lets them easily annotate them — without requiring any downloads. Most of the books don’t seem to have an audio option, but it still has a nice collection of those that do. Of course, books with audio narration are ideal for English Language Learners.
Teachers can create virtual classrooms though, as Richard notes, the process is a little time-intensive. It would be nice if they didn’t require as much information on each students as they do in order for a teacher to add a student to their classroom. Even better, it would be great if they allowed students to just use a code given to them by their teacher so they can sign-up for themselves (other similar sites have that feature).
But they are new, so I assume they’ll be making those kinds of changes over time. Their selection of books really stands-out right now, and their annotation process is easy-as-pie, so it’s really worth looking into it despite my minor complaints.