Strategy I

1.  Teachers are good role models for reading.

At the intermediate grades in elementary school, beginning ELLs can benefit from listening to read-alouds. Teachers can read picture books, using the illustrations to develop vocabulary and to make story meaning clear. This works best in contexts where ELLs will not be self-conscious or fearful that more proficient students will tease them about reading "baby books." One such context might be a class project doing a "study" of children's literature.

Effective teachers can use read-alouds of chapter books as opportunities for language development. Before reading each new chapter, teachers and students review and summarize the previous chapters, making predictions about what will happen next. This provides multiple opportunities to understand, hear, and practice the language of the story.

To learn more about the countries, languages, and cultures of their students, teachers can read culturally specific books. Students may be excited to see a book about Mexican music, Cambodian temples, Nigerian legends, or a Lithuanian inventor on their teacher's desk. When teachers read such books, they demonstrate interest in and respect for students' backgrounds. In addition, this creates an opportunity for conversations in which ELLs can demonstrate that they possess valuable background knowledge. (It is also important not to assume that ELLs are experts on all topics relating to their culture.) To make the hidden cognitive processes of reading and writing more accessible to ELLs, teachers orally narrate their thoughts and indicate how they are using reading strategies.

Effective teachers say things like:

I'm looking at the picture of the palm trees on the cover of this book, and I'm thinking that the setting of the story is a tropical place.

I wonder where it is.

I'm wondering why that boy on the cover looks so sad.

The title makes me think that...

I don't understand that sentence I just read, so I'm going to read it again and see if it makes more sense.

I'm going to tell my story through letters. I'm going to have my character write letters to her grandma, like in Dear Mr. Henshaw. The title of my story will be Dear Grandma, Far Away.