Please help me welcome today’s guest blogger, Shaeley Santiago. Shaeley teaches English Language Learners at the high school level in Iowa.
|Shaeley Santiago under her favorite word!|
Even ELLs at the highest English proficiency level often do not read at grade level. Many of them come from backgrounds where public libraries are not readily available, and reading, especially for pleasure, is not emphasized. In my experience, many ELLs (even from highly educated backgrounds) are not strongly encouraged to read. So when you don’t have lots of experience reading in your native language and you’re multiple grade levels behind your peers, how does your teacher hook you on reading?
The use of technology is another step I took to encourage the reading culture in my class. I had students set up Goodreads accounts and created a Goodreads group for our class where I asked students to share their book recommendations with each other. When they suggested a book, I printed off the book cover and displayed it on the bulletin board in the classroom.
implemented an idea I learned recently on the monthly Twitter #titletalk chat. I took last year’s book covers from my class display and shaped them into the poster-sized letters
“R-E-A-D” shown in the picture.
is even more important for ELLs that the topic is a good fit for them. This could include but is not limited to multicultural books, bilingual books, and graphic novels that provide age-appropriate visuals and are often at a lower reading level. You may need to convince ELLs that graphic novels count for reading, too, though. I’ve found that starting them off with a graphic novel of a classic book like a Shakespeare play is a good way to show them that graphic novels can still be cognitively challenging and not babyish.
These are just a few ideas that I’ve implemented. I’m always looking for new ways to hook my ELLs on reading.
If you would like to learn more about Shaeley’s thoughts on connecting readers and books, follow her on Twitter: @HSeslteacher