The following blog post was written by Katrina Derix-Langstraat, a faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
I use the ESL Literacy Readers with my Phase I Initial class. Early this semester, I used the reader Deng Starts School with my class as part of a theme unit exploring classroom routines and vocabulary. I chose this reader for a few reasons:
- the pictures are simple, with only 1 item per page
- the pictures correspond to actual items we have learned about in our own classroom, allowing me to recycle previously learned vocabulary
- the text is repetitive and predictable
- some of my learners have small children starting school, and need to become familiar with school customs in Alberta (e.g. teachers sending notes home, students needing inside/outside shoes, buying school supplies)
The ESL Literacy Readers can be used to recycle and spiral language and skills in many ways. I’ve found that the learning is richest when I use and re-use them in as many ways as possible.
I introduced the reader in several steps:
- I showed pictures from the story and elicited vocabulary such as school, teacher, letter, pencil, Mom, etc.
- For the first listening of the story, I gave each student a picture that matched a word from the story (pencils, markers, erasers, shoes, etc). As I read the story on the screen the first time, learners stood up for the page where their item appeared.
- We then read the story together on the screen. I read each sentence and the learners repeated.
- I gave the book to the learners and to familiarize themselves with it, I asked them to listen and find the pictures of the items I called out. This helped consolidate any new vocabulary.
- Learners then read the story several times together as a class, in pairs/ table groups and individually.
In subsequent classes, I recycled and spiraled the language from the story in a variety of ways:
- Stand for your word activity, in which you give each learner a word from the story and they stand every time you read that word, as you read the story aloud to them. I think this is an effective way to show the repetitive structure of the story, as the same people will be standing in the same order over and over again.
- Matching cards, with pictures and words from the story
- Worksheets: matching words to pictures from the story, copying words beside pictures, word search puzzles, etc.
- Slappers: I write several key words from the story on the board in random order (like a splash). I break the class into 2 teams and have them line up in front of the board. The front person from the team gets a “slapper” (flyswatter). I call out a word and they race to the board to slap the word they hear. The first one gets a point for their team. This reinforces listening and sight word reading skills.
I’m sure there are a hundred more ways to extend and recycle language and skills using these readers.
Any other ideas? What ideas / activities have you used that work well?