Tips For Teaching Reluctant Readers and ESL Students
Aug 4, 2009 English as a Second Language (ESL) 4954 Views
Tip 1: Teach topics that are motivating. Interest and topic are key. As Richard Day points out in "Selecting a Passage for the Reading Class," relating to student interests has implications for facilitating second-language acquisition. Part of getting students interested in reading is to expand their knowledge on topics they enjoy.
Tip 2: Choose Your Text Carefully. Always look at the texts from the students' perspective. Not all texts are exploitable. To evaluate texts, consider the following questions:
1. Lexical exploitability: Do the texts offer an opportunity to acquire some new vocabulary?
2. Structure exploitability: Can students explore text meanings by how the text is set-up?
3. Thematic exploitability: Does the text have the potential to lead into some aspect of discussion?
Don't limit your students' reading experience. Let them read non-fiction and fiction. Poetry offers an almost musical quality to the written word.
I love when I read a "chapter book" to the children from the Usborne book collection. The first time I do this they often say "You forgot to show the picture!" It is with this statement that the book is put aside as we create the images that are missing; I tell them this book does not have many pictures and I ask them what it is they would like to see. In response, I get a description of the people and places created by the children. It is with their imagination that the story comes to life.
Tip 3: Create step-by-step lessons. Start small by using bits of text such as word clues, titles and subtitles. Important vocabulary used in a pre-reading activity can serve as a lead-in to the topic.Encourage predictions whenever possible.
Tip 4: Identify phonic and phonemic skills. Word and letter recognition is the foundation for future comprehension. Once students can decode the words, introduce those words to students and then only in short passages. This builds up their confidence and gives them a reason to continue reading.
Tip 5: Emphasize authentic and meaningful language communication. Students remember targeted words and chunks of language when they are taught in a meaningful way.
Remember, fluency will not occur on its own. Reluctant readers/ESL students need a variety of exposure to and practice with texts that are motivating if they are to become fluent readers. Meaningful vocabulary and comprehension activities help complement the text so that students become motivated and engaged.
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