Strategy 10

10. Teachers model how to verbalize understandings and questions about readings and then provide opportunities for students to practice these comprehension strategies.

ELLs spend a great part of their time and energy trying to understand the oral and written English that surrounds them. ELLs benefit from learning how to ask themselves and other people questions that focus on finding and clarifying the information they need. Helpful strategies for ELLs include: rereading, skimming, scanning, and consulting resources to obtain clarification. Explicit modeling and instruction helps students to monitor their comprehension by verbalizing their understandings and pinpointing areas of confusion or missing information. Beginners in English and those who have not yet learned to read in their primary languages will need more modeling and clear explanations of the strategies in order to understand and use them.

Teachers of ELLs keep in mind that limited English word knowledge is an important, but not the only, reason that ELLs may have difficulty understanding what they read. Many stories are difficult for ELLs to understand because the authors have written for an audience that shares background knowledge of American culture, history, and customs.

Effective teachers use, explain, demonstrate, and revisit comprehension strategies throughout the school year. Students who may not be ready to understand a strategy early in the school year may be able to understand and use the strategy when it is explained and modeled again a few months later.

To engage students in their reading, teachers model and explain questioning strategies that send students back to the text to look for story elements such as character (Who?), setting (Where? When?), and problem (What's the matter?). For informational text comprehension, teachers model graphic organizers appropriate to the subject matter, such as the one below.

 

What's the animal's name? What's the baby's name? Where do they live? What do
they eat?
horse foal
colt
farm
ranch
grass
hay
duck duckling ponds
rivers
lakes
water
plants
bread