Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

By Nancy Brekke, Reading Interventionist, Guest Blogger

Teaching English learners to improve their reading skills is such a rewarding part of our work. The excitement that students feel as they improve reading skills while accessing different text types is so fun to see! In today's blog post, I’ll discuss tips that you can use to help your students who are learning English.

As a teacher of language learners, you may need additional support with scaffolding and to find encouraging resources to motivate your students to want to learn to read. Read on for some great ideas to help with this.

1. Provide access to culturally relevant texts.

This is so important and crucial for English language learners. When language learners are given a text that has photos of people of their same ethnicity, they immediately are interested and motivated to want to read the book. Being able to relate to narrative and informational text helps improves their reading comprehension. The Colección Caleidoscopio has books that have been adapted authentically to Spanish from the Kaleidoscope Collection . Your students will immediately relate to these leveled books.

2. Help language learners improve vocabulary.

Understanding the vocabulary in a story is so important for your students’ reading comprehension. During the book introduction, be sure to introduce, pronounce, and explain the meaning of the important vocabulary words. Then pronounce the words again, one at a time, and have the students repeat so that you are sure they can pronounce the words correctly.

3. Model what you are teaching rather than just explaining it.

Instead of just explaining the meaning of vocabulary words, you can act out the meaning. For example, if you are teaching the meaning of the word tired , you could yawn, close your eyes half-way, and use your facial expression to express that you are tired. Then have a student act out a word, and have the class guess which word the student is acting out.

4. Emphasize correct pronunciation of words.

Play an echo pronunciation game with your students to help them practice the pronunciation of words. You can pronounce a word at a normal volume, then have students pronounce the word at the same volume. You can then whisper a word and have students whisper the same word. You can also pronounce a word loudly to have students repeat the word at the same volume. Then, chose a student to say a word at the volume he/she chooses. The rest of the class should echo the word at the same volume. Students love this game, and it really helps improve their pronunciation.

Be sure to visit our blog soon for more helpful tips to engage students in your classroom!

Nancy has taught grades 1–6, ESL students, and Reading Recovery. She is also a Reading Interventionist and an author of several titles in our Kaleidoscope Collection .