Tag Archives: Reading to Learn for ELs

PLC Series: Focus on the Strengths of Your ELs

Welcome back to the Heinemann Professional Development Professional Learning Community (PLC) series. We are excited to present a new format for the 2017-2018 year! 

Each month, we'll share 2 posts designed to provoke thinking and discussion, through a simple framework, incorporating mini-collections of linked content into your professional development time. 

This month, our posts will challenge us to examine literacy practices so we can be more inclusive of students who speak varieties of English as well those learning English.

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After discovering a pattern of deficit thinking about her child’s reading struggles, Cohort 1 Heinemann Fellow Lisa Birno embarked on action research to investigate instructional strategies that would “increase equity and engagement through the use of purposeful talk”.

In this post on the Heinemann blog, Lisa tells the story of how she began critically examine patterns of deficit language we sometimes use to describe learners. She writes, “In order to make sense of why the child isn’t learning the way we expect, our deficit language kicks in and it damns every child we use it on.”

Take a few moments to read her post and think about a time you recall defaulting to deficit-thinking, whether it be with a student, a family member, or yourself. What phrases of deficit language dominate this memory?

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Background Activation Strategies for ELs

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction.

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Get to Know English Learners’ Interests

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. In Reading to Learn for ELs, author Ana Taboada Barber provides models of her instructional framework for reading informational texts so that reading teachers, content-area teachers, and ESL teachers alike can take on the work of teaching English Learners how to succeed and gain knowledge through reading informational texts.

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The Importance of Motivation in EL Reading Instruction

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as students move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction. 

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Supporting English Learners’ Questioning Through Explicit Instruction

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction. 

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Understanding the Comprehension Gap for English Learners

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction. In this post, adapted from the introduction of Reading to Learn for ELs, author Ana Taboada Barber writes how learning English, for her, was about broadening her horizons.


Understanding the Comprehension Gap for English Learners

Written by Ana Taboada Barber

It is true that English is a second language for me and that I experience less certainty communicating in English than I do in my native language, Spanish. However, the label of an English Learner (EL) would not be entirely accurate. I didn’t begin learning English because I was an immigrant in an English-speaking country. Learning English was the result of my parents’ choice. My mother spoke English fluently and believed in its value as a lingua franca—a bridge language, a language spoken worldwide that makes communication possible among people who do not share their first language. For me, learning English was an enrichment activity, a way to broaden my horizons.

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