Effective Strategies for Teaching Reading

So, You Think You Can Teach ESL?


Reading is a BIG component of teaching any language – first or second. Reading, especially in a foreign language, can be quite difficult for learners. I have been working on earning my TESOL certificate through the American TESOL Institute (ATI). One of the modules I had to complete was about teaching reading.

Reading can be especially difficult since not every student reads at the same level. Some are able to read at higher levels than their peers, and others may struggle.

So, how can you teach students of varying levels?

Oftentimes, students learning another language may not always understand what they are reading. Therefore, they well become easily frustrated and give up. A teacher needs to devise different strategies to help their students close the gap in their understanding. A teacher also needs to know which strategies are effective and beneficial. That is the real challenge.

I teach a few…

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Have a Tea Party

Today I was working on a paper for a class. I was in deep thought and frustrated with a section. My daughter came in and asked me to join her for a tea party. I was a tad snippy and I told her it would have to wait because I was working. Then, to make matters worse, I told her she could have the tea party by herself while I worked. You should have seen the look on her face. One more point toward my mom of the year award…

The look on her face was the kick in the pants I needed. I hit save and turned the computer off. Of course I would have a tea party! I would rather lose sleep than one moment with that amazing girl. How long is she going to want to spend time with me? She is growing up so fast.

Isn’t that true with students in the classroom? So often I walk into classrooms to find teachers behind their desks, not all teachers, but I find the trend increasing. They are checking emails, grading papers, or catching up on something. This is all happening while their students are doing independent work.

What a wasted opportunity! Instead, that would be a great time to confer with students, pull strategy groups, or offer any other support.

Students value your time. In fact, they crave it. Never be afraid to set aside what you are doing to have that tea party. You might have to find some other time to grade that stack of papers, or check that email. All of those items on our to do lists are way less of a priority. Your students will not thank you for putting a smiley face on their paper, but for the experience they have in your classroom. Make it a good one.

Where is the WD40 when I need it?

You know that moment when you finally get that crying baby to sleep? That moment after you made the “shhh shhh” sound and rubbed that baby’s back for an hour… Finally, their eyes, swollen from crying, and their bodies relax. A smile of satisfaction appears on your face. Now, you can get some sleep too. You slowly tiptoe out of the nursery, pulling the door shut behind you. Then, it happens… that terrifying, just barely audible squeak from that pesky hinge on the door. That hinge has never made a sound. Why now?! Your head turns toward the crib and your tired eyes beg that baby not to wake up. “Waaaaa!” You sigh, turn around, and start shhhhhing and rubbing all over again. Damn hinge. You make a mental note to spray some WD40 on that hing first thing in the morning.

Does it ever feel like that with your students? You work with them so hard on something. Finally, they get it. You let out a sigh of relief and celebrate with them. You turn and walk away, smiling and patting yourself on the back. Not too long after, something happens. Their is a squeak in their learning: a twist, turn, something unexpected. Back to square one. Didn’t they just get this a second ago? What happened between then and now?!

What is your WD40? How do you support students on this roller coaster ride of education?

It is different for each student. Each student needs their own level of support and their own can of WD40. It is up to you to find out what that is.

How to be a Culturally Responsive School


Reblogged from the FB page of Latino Interest Forum posted by Jorge Saenz De Viteri

Excerpt: Diversity or multicultural education is not about Cinco de Mayo, Black History Month or wearing costumes and the like (Ormrod, 1999). Rather, it is a continuous process in which children learn about their background; learn about the backgrounds of people who are different from them; gain exposure to activities, materials and concrete experiences that destroy stereotypes, and see themselves, their families and their communities represented in their educational setting (Wardle, 2003).

Read more: http://www.cdacouncil.org/councilink-newsletter/489-multiculturalism-plays-a-role-in-developing-young-minds

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To Inspire the Superteacher Within You

Quotes About Teaching

Read these.
Think about your students.
Be inspired.
Get ready to love your students.

Put a price on it. I dare you.

My Facebook has been swamped with immigration stories, which seem to be causing an uproar of angry protestors at the boarder. There was even a story about a busload of YMCA kiddos who were mistaken for immigrants. Protestors were all over that. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-protesters-mistake-busload-of-ymca-campers-for-immigrant-children/).

I was talking to one of my students who happens to be an immigrant child. His life in Mexico was pretty rough. He was surrounded by violence and his family feared for his life on a daily basis. When the student was three, the family raised enough money ($3000!!!) to start his paperwork and send him legally across the boarder to his grandparents. The people completing the paperwork stole the money. The family, who had nothing, worked to get the money again, determined for him to have a better life. It took them another 5 years. Now, $6000 in, they started the paperwork again. The paperwork took 3 years to process. Finally, he was in.

At this rate, I can see why children and families sneak across. Should we blame the children or the process? Come on people!

Imagine being one of those students on that YMCA bus. How frightening! I am proud to be a teacher who welcomes immigrant children with a warm heart and nothing but love. Instead of teaching them hatred, how about we teach them to be productive citizens who aren’t afraid to make a positive impact.

At the end of summer school, the student who spent $6000 and 8 years trying to come here, and I hugged. He was so appreciative of the time I spent with him. He even told me his hopes and dreams for the future. I bet that kid will be nothing short of a big success.

So people can keep complaining about the cost of immigration. I think about the value. Priceless.

Summer Learning Loss

Summer Learning Loss

As many teachers are counting down the days until summer vacation, I count down the days until my students lose access to education for 3 months.  Let’s face it.  Most kids don’t practice academics during the summer nearly as much as they need to.  Sure, they may read or journal once and a while, but other than that, probably not much else.  Here’s the reality I face.  I work with a population of students who go home where another language is dominant, and it is not very common for the parents to be literate in their native language and/or have academic resources, English or otherwise.  Not only do many of my students not practice English over the summer, but they don’t have access to a language rich environment in any language… for 3 months!  Many of them live in poverty, so meaningful real-world experiences are few and far between.  Many of my elementary kiddos are playing the role of babysitter over the summer (YIKES!).  We encourage and provide summer school to students with significant need, but that is one month out of the summer, and that is IF they actually attend.  I worry about some my students over the summer.  I worry if they are eating, if they are safe, if they are being taken care of, if they are provided opportunities, if they are going to move, and if they are returning in the fall.  The attached article from Colorin Colorado is an interesting analysis on Summer Learning Loss.  It is from 2003, an oldie but goodie.