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July 25. 2017

7 Ways to Effectively Teach Phonics to ELLs

You are likely to have many children in your class who not only can speak one language but are learning a second or even a third language. And that is a great thing. If English is an additional language, then it will be important that you understand
and value the child’s expansion of both home and school language. You will want to adjust your teaching to make sure that English language learners (ELLs) have access to your teaching about sounds, letters, and words. Often, these adjustments are minor and easy to implement, but they are necessary to promote essential understandings on the part of these learners.



Here are some ways you can support ELLs in Phonics and Word Study:
  1. Use many hands-on activities so that children have the chance to manipulate magnetic letters and tiles, move pictures around, and work with word cards and name cards.
  2. Be sure that the print for all charts (ABC charts, name charts, shared writing, picture and word charts, etc.) is clear and consistent so that children who are working in another language do not have to deal with varying forms of letters.
  3. Make sure that English language learners are not sitting in an area that is peripheral to the instruction (for example, in the back or to the side). It is especially important for these learners to be able to see and hear all instruction clearly.
  4. Provide a “rehearsal” by working with your English language learners in a small group before you provide the lesson to the entire group.
  5. Use real objects to represent pictures and build concepts in children’s minds. When it is not possible to use real objects to build concepts, use clear pictures that will have meaning for children. Picture support should be included whenever possible.
  6. Be sure to enunciate clearly yourself and accept children’s approximations. If they are feeling their own mouths say (or approximate) the sounds, they will be able to make the connections.
  7. Accept alternative pronunciations of words with the hard-to-say sounds and present the written form to help learners distinguish between them. Over time, you will notice movement toward more standard English pronunciation.

From Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Lessons, Grade K by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

July 20. 2017

Reflections on the 2017 ILA Literacy Conference

 

Educational conferences are wonderful opportunities to learn new teaching methods, make connections, and get refreshed for the upcoming school year. This year's International Literacy Association 2017 Conference was no exception! We heard from a lot of great speakers and educators from all over the world whose passion for education was truly inspiring.  

Fountas and Pinnell held two powerful sessions at ILA this year: "Teaching for Coherence: A Design for Literacy Instruction" and "Responsive Teaching: Four Keys to Effective Decision Making Within the Guided Reading Lesson." Below are some of the most favored bits of wisdom we took away from those two discussions. We invite others to share their thoughts on these or anything else about their experience at ILA 2017. More...



July 18. 2017

Teacher Tip: How to Make More Time for Language and Literacy Learning

With ILA behind us, now is the perfect time to reflect and focus on your own professional development. It's not always easy to find time for literacy instruction in the classroom, so here are some suggestions for making more time for language and literacy learning.

1. With your grade-level colleagues, design a daily schedule that includes two-and-a-half to three hours of language and literacy teaching:
  • If you encounter problems, think "outside the box:" integrate subjects previously taught separately, rearrange your planning periods, reexamine how you incorporate special areas like music and art.
  • If you have departmentalization and cannot change it, work on a plan for allocating time for reading, writing, and word study, and for regular communication with other teachers so you can make connections over content areas.
  • Compare the time you have allocated for reading with the time you have set aside for writing. Writing is often shortchanged.
  • Talk about ways to incorporate more social studies and science into your literacy blocks.
  • Discuss ways to be more efficient. Could the first fifteen minutes of the day become part of the independent reading block?
  • Try out the schedule for one month and then revise it based on your experience.
2. Reevaluate the existing organizational structures in your classroom. Can some of these be changed? Can you find ways to incorporate some of them into the language and literacy framework?

3. With a group of colleagues, discuss changes you plan to make in terms of time, instructional approaches, classroom structure, or content.

From Guiding Readers and Writers by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2001 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.