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Teaching Reading to English Language Learners Essay

1.1 Background of the study

Teaching reading to English Language Leaners requires some strategies and preparations on the part of teachers, which includes the preparation of the lesson plan. However, an effective lesson plan teaching reading to English Second Language (ESL) students or English Foreign Language (EFL) students requires having a structure (Teaching Reading to ESL Students to Teaching ESL to Adult, NY). The good news though about teaching reading to English Language Learners (ELLs) according to Colorin Colorado (2008) is that teachers need not to learn an entirely new method. Teachers can and should use what they already know to be effective, which she described as a research-based reading instruction. Additional support in learning how to read may be needed by teachers.

On the other hand, The Education Alliance (2006) reveals there is a 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. (Garcia, 2000) adds that ELLs who are ready literate in a home language are able to transfer some of their skills for use in English reading, but that doesn’t 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 processing strategies “.Throughout the elementary grades, ELLs are likely to encounter difficulties with both “high” and “low” levels of the reading process, especially as they tackle increasingly complex readings.

Moreover, Ehri(1998) states that knowledge of the relationships between sound and letters essential for learning to read English. However, the work of Verhoeven’s (1999) cautions teachers that 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-letters relationships, Birch (2002) recommends practice in a variety of tasks such as: (a) identifying a particular phoneme in words, (d) discriminating between that phoneme and similar ones, (c) Linking the sound to the printed letters, (d) visually discriminating the letter from other visually similar letters, (e) recognizing and printing the letter in both upper and lowercase form, (f) finding the letter at the beginning s ending of words alone and in connected text, and (g) drawing things that begin with the letter and labeling them. Other teaching suggestions provided by (Antunez, 2002; Kaufman & Franco, 2004) include (a) playing games with rhyming words, and alliterative words to develop students’ awareness of how sounds combine to form words, and (b) in the case of Spanish-speaking ELLs, building upon the similarities and differences between the sound systems of the two languages.

Indeed there is a vast of ways and differences on how teaching reading to English Language Learners can be done. However, achieving a greater knowledge and awareness of these would be an advantage especially for teachers aiming to better address the various needs and difficulties of their struggling English Language Learners. It is therefore in this context that this study was deemed necessary. 1.2 Statement of the problem

This study attempted to explore the teaching of reading English Language Learners. Specifically, it ought to answer the following questions: 1. What strategies are recommended for teaching reading to English Language Learners? 2. What are the steps used to prepare an effective lesson plan for teaching reading skills? 3. What problems do English Language Learners usually encounter in learning reading? 1.3 Objectives of the study

This study aimed to achieve the following objectives;

1. To describe the strategies in teaching reading to English Language Learners; 2. To identify the steps used to prepare an effective lesson plan for teaching reading skills; and 3. To identify the problem English Language Learners usually encountered in learning reading. 1.4 Significance of the study

The findings of this research report will be very important and useful in the following ways:

Firstly, it can describe the recommended strategies for teaching reading English Language Learners, thus providing ELLs’ teachers better understanding and appreciation of these strategies so as to maximize the potential capabilities of their leaners while enhancing the teaching –learning process;

Secondly, finding of this study can also serve as a very good additional material for teachers and their respective academic institutions to take advantage of such information to better prepare themselves as they continuously improve the development of their reading curriculum — one that truly meets the needs of individual learners; and

Thirdly, this study can serve as baseline information for future researchers and scholars who would like to further their investigation in this field of teaching reading to English Language Learners. 1.5 Scope and delimitation of the study

This research report focused mainly on investigating the teaching of reading to English Language Learners. To further delimit its scope, this study has concentrated only at describing the various strategies recommended in teaching reading to English Language Learners. The study further delved into identifying the steps used to prepare an effective lesson plan for teaching reading skills. The study ended by identifying some problems English Language Learners usually encountered in learning reading. 1.6 Research methodology

To address the concerns raised by this present study, documentary analysis was primarily utilized based on secondary documents reviewed such as the works of The Education Alliance (2006) on “Reading: Grades K-3”, Teaching Reading to ESL to Adult (NY) on “Steps for Teaching Reading to ESL Students: ESL Reading Strategies”, Bonnie Terry Learning (2009) on “Looking to Solve Reading Problems?, and the Wikipedia (2010) on “Difficulties for Learners: English as a Foreigner or Second Language”.

Other secondary data was taken from various sources such as books, articles, magazines that were published in hard copies as well as to deepen the analysis of the present study.

CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF LITERATURE AND DICUSSIONS
This chapter presents both the relevant literature reviewed for the study, and discussion to each of the research questions raised earlier in Chapter I. 2.1 Review of related literature
2.1.1. Reading Comprehension Strategies for English Language Leaners
According, once students understand the theme of the reading and realize how much they already know about it, they are ready to read. They’ll have to do that on their own, but teachers can prepare them for the task. Hence, the following strategies or techniques will help ELLs and struggling reader better comprehend what they read as identified by Ellen Douglas (NY).

(1) Think –pair –share: This teases students into material that may be complex or written at a level of some difficulty for them, use the technique of “think-pair-share”. Have students read a passage by themselves, read in pairs, or listen as you read the material aloud to them. At an appropriate point, pose a question about the text and have them think for a moment to themselves, then share their ideas with a partner. After a moment or two of discussion, the pair can share their ideas with the class.

This technique works well with ELLs because it allows them to formulate their ideas on their own, test them out in noon-threatening way with their partners, and then, reinforced by their partner’s feedback, share the ideas with the class. They can thus rehearse what they want to say before they sat it in front of the large group. It also lets them work out meaning with their partners, expanding and possibly correcting what they gathered from the reading. This technique can also work with textbook passages or other nonfiction texts.

(2) Think-aloud: This is another strategy that teachers can use to help students understand how to approach a passage. Teachers read a passage aloud to students and stop frequently to make comments about what they are thinking as they read. The idea is to reveal thought processes to the students so that they can emulate them when they read a similar passage. This technique is useful for interpreting poetry as well as for coming to grips with dense text like that in a science or social studies text book.

(3) Generating Interaction between Schemata and Text (GIST): Summarizing a passage is another way to make sense of it. The GIST is a technique that allows students to internalize a passage by selecting important words from it and writing a summary using those words. Teacher displays a passage on a transparency and then read it with the class. With the students, pick out eight or ten of the most important words from the passage and underline or circle them. Then write a summary of the passage in a sentence or two using those words. Do this as a class for several passages of text, then ask students to try the technique on their own or in pairs. This technique works well with non-fiction text, especially dense, complex text.

2.1.2. How to Write an Effective Lesson Plan for Teaching Reading

To write an effective lesson plan for teaching reading, it is important that teachers identify the main topic and its objectives. According to the Teaching Reading to ESL Students to Teaching ESL to Adults (NY), a main topic for each lesson is essential. Whether the lesson lasts for one hour or three hours, there should be one main ESL topic. For example, the main topic could be prepositions of place, modal verbs, the Simple Past, pronunciation, etc. Virtually anything that English Language Leaners need to learn to communicate effectively could be the main topics, and then you will have two or more parts to your plan or two or more separate plans. Either way, you must have all of the elements.

The objectives on the other hand, will help to limit the scope of the lesson. The number of objectives will vary depending on the length of the lesson and the main topic, but will probably range between two and five objectives. Three specific guidelines for lesson plan objectives have been identified. These are (1) lesson plan objectives should all relate to the main topic of the lesson; (2) each of the objectives should be measurable; and (3) each of the objectives should be student-centered.

Below are some examples of objectives for lesson plans for the main topic of the Past Perfect verb tense: 1. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to distinguish Past Perfect sentences from Simple Past sentences. 2. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the proper form of the Past Perfect by writing five sentences in the Past Perfect. 3. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to demonstrate correct usage of the Past Perfect by speaking (or writing) three sentences correctly using this tense. You’ll notice that these are all related to the topic of the Past Perfect tense. They are all measurable. The teacher should not have to guess whether the ESL students have met the learning objectives. An objective that states, “By the end of the lesson, students will be able to understand the Past Perfect,” cannot be measured. (How do I know if the students understand it or not if they don’t somehow demonstrate what they have learned?)

Lastly, all the objectives are student-centered. Objectives in the best ESL lesson plans do not look like this: “Teacher will teach the Past Perfect”. The best ESL lesson plans will have a limited amount of time devoted to this element. Hence, the “study” part of the lesson plan can be the steps the teacher carries out to teach the lesson. It could be a short presentation by the ESL teacher or it could be study from a grammar book, etc. Moreover, the best ESL lesson plans will have the most time devoted to the ESL students’ activities section of the lesson. This is the part where the students practice the topic of the lesson and uses what he or she has learned from the “study” part of the lesson. Activities include cloze exercise, ESL game writing speaking etc., Finally, is the evaluation that is generally used for the purpose of checking to see if students have met the lesson plan objectives.

The type of evaluation used in the best ESL lesson plans will depend on the format of the class, the length of the class, the topic of ESL lesson, and other factors. Evaluations can range from informal to formal. If you are tutoring ESL students one-on-one, evaluation could be as simple as listening to the students using the subject of the ESL lesson during the conversation. If you are in the classroom, there could be a written quiz at the end of the class. Or it could be as informal as the evaluation for one-on-one tutoring. These steps can be used to write all of the best ESL lesson plan, including lesson plans for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar (teaching reading to ESL students to teaching ESL to adults, NY).

2.1.3. Teaching Reading to English Language Learners

Deborah Chitester (2010), states that there is an increasing amount of English language learners represented in our school for which a unique approach to developing literacy is necessary. The development of literacy by English learners (ELLs) includes all of the challenge implicit for English speaking children literacy attainment, and is additionally compounded by a diversity of linguistic, cognitive and academic variable. In general, seven critical variable that need to be targeted in effective reading instruction have been identified by Deborah Chitester (2010). These are: (a) phonemic awareness (b) phonics, (c) vocabulary development, (d) reading fluency, (e) oral reading skills, and (f) reading comprehension strategies. Moreover, the national research Council’s Committee on the prevention of reading difficulty in young children has recently completed the research on normal reading development and instruction on preventing reading difficulties in young children.

According to Deborah Chitester (2010), the said study documented a number of important findings about teaching English reading to language-minority children, which include: (a) English-speaking children making initial attempts at reading understand: if teachers are successful, students read words they know and sentences they understand, And can self-correct efficiently. non-English speakers have a more limited basis for knowing whether their reading is correct because the crucial meaning-making process is short circuited by lack of language knowledge; (b) Giving a child initial reading instruction in a language that he or she does not yet speak can undermine the child`s chance to see literacy as a powerful form of communication by knocking the support of meaning out from underneath the process of learning; and (c) Initial reading instruction in the first language does no harm. To the contrary, it seems likely both from research findings and from theories about literacy development that initial reading instruction in the second language can have negative consequences for immediate and long-term achievement.

Primary language and reading literacy is critical and should be strongly encouraged. The study highly recommended that “initial literacy instruction should be In a child`s native language whenever possible”, and also suggested that “literacy instruction should not be introduced in any language before some reasonable level of oral proficiency in that language has been attained”. Moreover, on the question of which language to use when teaching English language learners to read, the committee commended the following guidelines: a. If language minority children arrive at school with no proficiency in English, but speaking a language for which there are instructional guides, learning material, and locally available proficient teachers, then these children should be taught how to read their native language while acquiring proficiency in spoken English, and then subsequently taught to extend their skill to reading in English; and b.

If the second language children arrive at school with no proficiency in English but speak a language for which the above conditions cannot be met and for which there are insufficient numbers of children to justify the development of the local community to meet such conditions, the instructional priority should be develop the children`s proficiency in spoken English. Although print materials may be used to develop understanding of English speech sounds, vocabulary, and syntax, the postponement of formal reading instruction is appropriate until an adequate level of proficiency in spoken English has been achieved. In the other words, the instructional priority needs to be to develop spoken oral English prior to attempting to facilitate reading in English.

2.2 Discussions

2.2.1 Research Question 1: What are the strategies in teaching reading to English language learners? The following strategies teaching reading to English Language Learners were identified described by the Education Alliance (2006). 1 Teachers combine multiple strategies in to a coherent plan for reading instruction the need the diverse learning of their students. The effective teacher must recognize that students, especially ELLs, come to school from varied background and with different prior knowledge. Therefore, multiple approaches to reading instruction are especially important. Some beginning ELL readers benefit from approaches that reinforce the relationship between experience and print. 2 Teachers use systematic and explicit instruction to develop students phonemic awareness In order to learn to read English, a learner must be able to perceive the small units of sound called phonemes that make up spoken words. In addition to individual differences phonemic segmentation of English words is particularly difficult for those with little prior experience listening to English speak sound.

Effective teachers explicitly model phonemic segmentation (how to divide words into individual phonemes). They illustrate concept such as onset (the beginning of a syllable) and rime (the ending of a syllable), which enable to rhyme words like cat, mat, pat, and bat or low, toe, and go. To further clarify these concepts, teacher often use visual aids and props, such as colored blocks or rods, which can physically represent phonological units. Moreover, 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 potential confusion. Awareness of some English phonemes such as the sound represented by /th/ in either and ether are present in few other languages, teachers can demonstrate how the /th/ sound are formed (with the tongue and front teeth) and can help their students practice pronouncing words that feature these sounds.

In addition, to obtain information about students’ primary languages, teachers can consult reference materials, ask bilingual adults, and listen carefully to sound patterns of English and other languages. 3 Teachers develop students’ phonic skills through systematic instruction on sound-symbol relationships, spending appropriate time to meet individual needs. Teachers develop students’ phonic skills in order to require English language learners are able to connect particular and letter combinations with the component sounds (phonemes) of familiar spoken words. To do this, all teachers instruct English language learners to practice the following: (a) have a basic oral vocabulary of English words, (b) be able to accurately perceive these English words as a sequence of distinct phonemes, (c) recognize letters in both their upper and lower case forms, (d) associate particular letters and letter combinations of the Roman alphabet with the phonemes they represent in English, (e) decode and identify the spoken English word that is represented by a combination of printed letters, and (f) practice and develop the ability to automatically identify English words seen frequently in print.

Teachers must also educate students to be aware of the various and most frequent letter combinations that represent particular sound as in meet, mete, and meat or fold, phone, and tough, and effective teachers are aware that in some languages like Spanish, decoding works is much easier than in English because the relationships between sound and letters are more consistent. This may cause student to try to pronounce silent letters like the l in walk and talk and should when they read these familiar words. On the other hand, teachers, reading coaches, and administrators are ware that ELLs may need more time than English proficient student to muster the phonological and vocabulary knowledge upon which phonics instruction builds, and the effective teachers adapt and tailor their phonics instruction to emphasize the sound that effect particular language group in the class. When teacher model their writing for student, teachers think out loud, explicitly discussing the relationship between sound and letters. 4 Teachers frequently engage students in oral reading to develop their reading fluency.

This means that teachers must allow their students to practice reading frequently during the class. The 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. 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 it aloud as a class chorus, in small groups or pairs, and at home to family members. Librarians, community volunteers, parents, and “reading buddies” from 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.

5 Teachers use numerous methods for both direct and indirect vocabulary instruction. Teachers must ask students (ELLs) to repeat reading, and the others listen opportunities to listen, observe, participate, and interact to understand the meaning. Sometimes teachers should notice that some students (ELLs) may be able to repeat or pronounce English words and phrases without really understanding them. Moreover, teachers must set the students to have frequent vocabulary discussions, encourage asking questions about words, developing word webs, lists, and semantic feature charts with students. 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. Effective teachers promote vocabulary learning through 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. 6 Teachers promote students’ reading comprehension through research supported techniques and explicit strategies. The National reading Panel (2000) cited by the Education Alliancce (2006) has identified eight types of comprehension instruction that are highly appropriate for ELLs but may require additional scaffolding and practice.

These are (a) graphic organizers, (b) story structure, (c) question answering, (d) question generating, (e) monitoring comprehension, (f) summarizing, (g) cooperative learning, (h) 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 through 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. 7 Teachers use computer technology to support reading instruction.

This strategy require teachers help students (ELLs) read any text in the computer programs and multimedia products (e.g., books with audiotapes) because it is enable ELLs and others to develop reading skills through the synergistic effects of 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 reading in some computer programs also help students sustain momentum. Effective teachers have students work at computers or listening centers in pairs or small groups, where talking each other about the activities an d their content provides an important social dimension. 2.2.2 Research Question 2: What are the steps to prepare an effective lesson plan for teaching reading skills? The Teaching Reading to ESL Students to Teaching ESL to Adults (NY) has identified seven general steps teachers can use to prepare their lesson plan for teaching reading skills to English language learners. There are as follows: Step 1: Engage the student: teachers have to warm-up by engaging students (ELLs) in the topic of the reading passage.

The purpose of engaging the students is to introduce theme or topic of reading. The student can be engaged, for example, by using visuals or a “warm up” conversation. If you use visuals, you can ask a question such as, “who do you think lives here?” The teacher should elicit responses from the students. Remember that lessons should be student-focused, the talking should be done by the students. Step2: Pre-teach vocabulary: When preparing students (ELLs) reading activities, decide the vocabulary that is critical for the English language learners to know to understand the story. Decide how teachers will teach the new words or key words. Teachers don’t have to teach every word that they think the student may not know, just those that are critical to understanding the reading passage. This part of the lesson shouldn’t take too much time. Step 3: Ask a focus question: A lesson plan teaching reading to students (ELLs) should have a focus question. Teachers have to write a question about a detail that is three-quarters of the way through the text for students beginning reading exercises.

For advanced level students, ask a “gist” question. This is something that the students have to deduce from the reading passage. This way the teachers have to write the focus questions on the board so that all students can see it. Step 4: The students read: finally, the students read! Teachers have to allow enough time the students to read the entire passage. All teachers have to watch the students to see how they are doing and when they’re done. If one student is talking a particularly long time, teachers may not need to wait until he or she finishes. Step 5: ask questions about the reading: First, ask the students the focus question again. In addition to the focus question, ask the students a few other question s about reading. If the students are unable to answer the questions, teachers allow the students to read the passage again.

Step 6: Follow up with a task: A lesson plan teaching reading to students (ELLs) should always be followed up with a task. The task can be oral or written. This allows the student boring in his or her knowledge on the topic, and helps to reinforce comprehension and the learning process. Step 7(optional): Follow up with an activity: If teachers have enough time, they can include another ELLs activity. This could be additional writing practice or speaking practice. It’s helpful to have a specific activity built in to teachers’ lesson plan, but the teacher can also be flexible. If something comes up that the students seem particularly interested in, use this topic for the students to write about or to continue with a conversation. 2.2.3 Research Question 3: What problems do English language learners usually encounter in learning reading? To answer this specific research question, two important documents were analyzed

CHAPTERIII
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter presents the conclusions and recommendations made based on the foregoing discussions and in considerations of the objectives set forth by this study.

3.1 Conclusions
This study reveals the strategies in teaching reading to English Language Learners, which were identified and described by the Education Alliance (2006). These include the (1) combination of multiple strategies into the coherent plan for reading instruction that meets the diverse learning needs of their student, wherein effective teachers recognize student, especially ELLs, come to school from varied backgrounds and with different prior knowledge, thus the use of multiple approaches to reading instruction are considered especially important; (2) use systematic and explicit instruction to develop students’ phonemic awareness, where teachers believe that a learner must be able to perceive the small units of sound called phonemes that make up spoken words;

(3) developing students` phonic skills through systematic instruction on sound-symbol relationships, spending appropriate time to meet individual needs, which require English Language learners able to connect particular letters and letter combinations with the component sounds (phonemes) of familiar spoken words, (4) frequently engage student in oral reading to develop their reading fluency, where teachers allow their students to practice reading frequently during the class; (5) use of numerous methods for both direct and indirect vocabulary instruction, where teachers must ask students (ELLs) to repeat reading, in the others listen opportunities to listen, observe, participate, and interact to understand the meaning;

(6) promoting students` reading comprehension through research-supported techniques and explicit strategies, which includes eight types of comprehension instruction that were identified by the National Reading Panel (2000) as cited by the Education Alliance (2006) that are highly appropriate for ELLs but may require additional scaffolding and practice. These are the (a) graphic organizers, (b) story structure, (c) question answering, (d) question generating, (e) monitoring comprehension, (f) summarizing, (g) cooperative learning, (h) combinations of the above; and (7) use of computer technology to support reading multimedia products (e.g., book with audiotapes) because it enables ELLs and other to develop reading skills through the synergistic effects of visual images, printed text, and audio text.

The student also identifies seven general steps used to prepare an effective lesson plan for teaching reading skills. These are as follow; Step 1: Engage the student; Teachers have to warm-up by engaging students (ELLs) in the topic of the reading passage; Step 2: pre-teach new vocabulary: When preparing students (ELLs) reading activities, decide the vocabulary that is critical for the English Language Learners to know to understand the story; Step 3: Ask a focus question: A lesson plan teaching reading to student (ELLs) should have a focus question;

Step 4: The student read: Teachers have to allow enough time for the students to read the entire passage; Step 5: Ask questions about the reading: First, ask the students the focus question again. In addition to the focus question, ask the students a few other questions about the reading. If the students are unable to answer the questions, teachers allow the students to read the passage again; Step 6: Follow up with a task: A lesson plan teaching reading to students (ELLs) should always be followed up with a task; and Step 7 (optional): Follow up with an activity: If teacher have enough time, they can include another ELLs activity. This could be additional writing practice or speaking practice.

Finally, the study identifies the problems English language learners usually encounter in learning reading, which were identified by Bonnie Terry Learning (2009) and Wikipedia (2010). Based on the work of Bonnie Terry Learning (2009), these problems were categorized.


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