Strategy 2

2. Teachers provide a variety of daily opportunities for students to practice reading and to share what they have learned.

ELLs benefit from opportunities to read self-selected books that interest them and academic books that are at appropriate levels. Sometimes easy books provide enjoyment, feelings of competency, and opportunities to read fluently. However, a steady diet of easy books may not challenge thinking or provide the new vocabulary or more complex language structures that ELLs need for language development. On the other hand, when books are too difficult, there is the risk that students will become discouraged and give up trying to read these books independently and silently. These same books may be good choices for guided reading or reciprocal reading where teachers provide more support for comprehension.

Books on tape can serve as tools for supporting beginning ELLs as they tackle difficult texts. Students can listen to each chapter on tape either before reading or while reading and following along in their books. Books on tape are also helpful to intermediate ELLs who are tackling difficult texts. In addition, ELLs can become familiar with content concepts and vocabulary by looking at richly illustrated informational books, such as the Eyewitness series of books on science, nature, and history topics.

As an alternative to silent reading, ELLs can benefit from one-on-one opportunities to read aloud with a teacher or tutor who can give them encouragement, feedback, and individualized help. Knowing that it may be difficult or intimidating for ELLs to publicly express their thoughts about their reading, effective teachers assign some hands-on book response projects, such as making posters, mobiles, and dioramas, which allow ELLs to demonstrate artistic and comprehension skills. Group book response projects promote communication, cooperation, and a variety of skills.

When facilitating book discussions with ELLs, some teachers use the Instructional Conversation (IC) approach (Goldenberg, 1991). Instructional Conversations focus on an engaging theme from the reading, such as the meaning of friendship. Instructional Conversations activate background knowledge, promote more complex language expression, and encourage students to identify text-based evidence to support their opinions. During Instructional Conversations, teachers ask fewer "known-answer" questions, respond thoughtfully to student contributions, and encourage students to respond to and build upon each other's remarks.