Strategy 1

1. Teachers include listening as an integral part of reading and writing instruction.

Teachers' talk is a primary source of information and language input for ELLs. It not only conveys ideas about the topics being discussed but models how to use language, serving as the input or data which learners internalize and use to express their own meanings. The qualities of the teacher's talk are of great importance. Effective teachers often adapt their speech to facilitate language learning. These adaptations may include speaking slowly, using short sentences, paraphrasing the same message several different ways, and explaining word meanings. Teachers also use gestures, pictures, and props to make the meaning more clear.

ELLs learn from listening to read-alouds, songs, poems, and chants. Listening to the sounds, rhymes, and rhythms of English provides ELLs with the auditory experiences they need to pronounce and read English. Beginning ELLs benefit greatly from listening to read-alouds of picture books. Effective teachers use the illustrations to develop vocabulary and to make story meaning clear.

Many ELLs go through a "silent period," during which they listen and observe more than they speak. During this silent period, ELLs benefit from opportunities to participate and interact with others in activities that use gesture, physical movement, art, experiential activities, and single words or short phrases. Effective teachers are aware that ELLs who are quiet in class may be hard at work listening and comprehending. ELLs may take longer to answer a question or volunteer a comment because they need more time to process the meaning and to formulate an appropriate response.

Effective teachers monitor students' listening comprehension. This can be especially useful when English language learners (ELLs) are in their "silent period," during which they listen and observe more than they speak.

Effective teachers say things like:

Show me the dog.
Show me the doghouse.
Point to the clouds in the sky.
Where is the mouse in the picture?
In the story Annie is very sad. Show me a sad face.
At the end of the story they all shook hands.
Victor, shake hands with Tommy now.
Look, everybody, Victor and Tommy are shaking hands, just like the people in the story.

As ELLs become more proficient in English, teachers begin to read from chapter books and other age-appropriate materials. In this way, they continue to build and monitor students' vocabulary development and listening comprehension.

Effective teachers say things like:

We heard that the witch was very wicked.
What's another word for wicked?
What does wicked mean?
The witch was not nice at all. She was very . . .
Would you rather have a teacher who is kind or a teacher who is wicked?
I read that the boy lived in a log cabin in the forest.
Is a cabin a big house or a little house?
Was the cabin made of wood or of plastic?
What's the word that means little pieces of a tree?

To foster reading comprehension, teachers model how readers make explicit comparisons between the text and their own lives.

Effective teachers say things like:

In the story, Annie is very sad because her dog is lost.
That makes me think about my dog.
It makes me sad to think about my dog getting lost.
Who else here has a dog?
Did your dog ever get lost?
Did you ever lose something or somebody else?
Did you feel sad like Annie?
Are there other things that make you sad?