One resource she mentions that I thought was particularly good was from National Geographic. They have quite a few simple “Listen & Read” nonfiction stories that would be great for English Language Learners. You can find them here and here.
If you teach at a Title One school, on a military base, or are a special education teacher anywhere in the U.S., you can gain access for your students to the Open eBooks app. That app allows students to upload up to ten books at a time, which can continually be replenished. And the book catalog looks extraordinary. Here’s the list:
Bloomsbury: Providing unlimited access to over 1,000 of its most popular titles.
Candlewick: Providing unlimited access to all relevant children’s and young-adult eBook titles in their catalog.
Cricket Media: Offering full digital access to all of its market-leading magazines for children and young adults, including Ladybug and Cricket.
Hachette: Offering access to a robust catalog of their popular and award-winning titles.
HarperCollins: Providing a vast selection of their award-winning and popular titles.
Lee & Low: Providing unlimited access to over 700 titles from this leading independent publisher of multicultural books.
Macmillan: Providing unlimited access to all of the K-12 age-appropriate titles in their catalog of approximately 2,500 books.
Sequencing activities are great lessons for teaching language and higher-order thinking, particularly if students are challenged to explain their reasons for putting texts or pictures in the order they choose.
Chronological order is the typical sequence that is used, and it works great.
There’s also a different twist on this kind of sequencing, one which I learned from my teaching mentor, Kelly Young.
Instead of cutting-up sections of text and having students put it in chronological order, another option is to list questions, mix-up the answers, and have students have to identify which ones go with the other. The texts can be complex, including having multiple paragraphs making-up the answers, or can be very simple.
Here’s a simple version I used when introducing Problem/Solution essays to my Intermediate English Language Learners. As you can see from the image below, there are a list of problems that are then followed by a list of solutions (that are not in order). Students had to match the problem with the solution (you can download it here).
Another fun way to use this list is to call out the items under “Solutions” (without sharing the items under Problems) and have students come-up with different types of problems they could solve.
While I was preparing this post, I realized that, though I have “Best” lists for tons of other kinds of essays, for some reason I don’t have one for Problem/Solution.
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.