The ELL Teacher's Toolbox
The ELL Teacher's Toolbox is a practical, valuable resource to be used by teachers of English Language Learners, in teacher education credential programs, and by staff development professionals and coaches. It provides hundreds of innovative and research-based instructional strategies you can use to support all levels of English Language Learners. Written by proven authors in the field, the book is divided into two main sections: Reading/Writing and Speaking/Listening. Each of those sections includes 'Top Ten' favorites and between 40 and 70 strategies that can be used as part of multiple lessons and across content areas. Contains 60% new strategies Features ready-to-use lesson plans Includes reproducible handouts Offers technology integration ideas
The percentage of public school students in the U.S. who are English language learners grows each year-and with this book, you'll get a ton of fresh, innovative strategies to add to your teaching arsenal. Larry Ferlazzo (Davis, CA) is the author of seven books; contributes a weekly post to The New York Times on teaching English Language Learners; writes a weekly teacher advice column for Education Week; authors what most public 'rankings' of education blogs say is the most popular blog in the U.S. written by a public classroom teacher as well as being the most popular blog in the world for ESL/ELL educators; hosts a weekly show for the BAM! Radio Network; writes a weekly post for The British Council, the largest international English-teaching organization in the world; and is a regular contributor to The Washington Post, Edutopia and ASCD Educational Leadership. He teaches ELLs and mainstream students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. Katie Hull Sypnieski (Sacramento, CA) teaches English and ELD at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA. She serves as a teacher consultant for the California Writing Project and is the coauthor of The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide and Navigating the Common Core with English Language Learners.
The ELL Teacher's Toolbox
What Is It?
Independent reading, also called free voluntary reading, extensive reading, leisure or pleasure reading, and silent sustained reading, is the instructional strategy of providing students with time in class on a regular basis to read books of their choice. Students are also encouraged to do the same at home. In addition, no formal responses or academic exercises are tied to this reading.
Why We Like It
We believe the best way for our ELL students to become more motivated to read and to increase their literacy skills is to give them time to read and to let them read what they like! That being said, we don't just stand back and watch them read. We do teach reading strategies, conduct read alouds to generate interest, take our classes to the school library, organize and maintain our classroom library, conference with students during reading time, and encourage our students to read outside the classroom, among other things. All of these activities contribute to a learning community in which literacy is valued and reading interest is high.
Research shows there are many benefits of having students read self-selected books during the school day (Ferlazzo, 2011, February 26; Miller, 2015). These benefits include enhancing students' comprehension, vocabulary, general knowledge, and empathy, as well as increasing their self-confidence and motivation as readers. These benefits apply to English language learners who read in English and in their native languages (International Reading Association, 2014).
Encouraging students to read in their home language, as well as in English, can facilitate English language acquisition and build literacy skills in both languages (Ferlazzo, 2017, April 10). Extensive research has found that students increasing their first language (L1) abilities are able to transfer phonological and comprehension skills as well as background knowledge to second language (L2) acquisition (Genessee, n.d.).
Common Core Connections
According to the Common Core ELA Standards, "students must read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts" in order to progress toward career and college readiness (Common Core State Standards Initiative, n.d.b). The lead authors of the Common Core advocate for daily student independent reading of self-selected texts and specifically state that students should have access to materials that "aim to increase regular independent reading of texts that appeal to students' interests while developing their knowledge base and joy in reading" (Coleman & Pimentel, 2012, p. 4).
Our students are allowed to choose whatever reading material they are currently interested in and are given time to read every day (depending on the day's schedule they spend anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes per day). Our students' use of digital reading materials in the classroom has dramatically increased in the past few years, and we discuss this in the Technology Connections section.
In order for this time to be effective-for our ELL students to experience the various benefits of independent reading discussed in the research section-we scaffold the independent reading process in several ways.
At the beginning of the year, we familiarize our students with the way our classroom libraries are organized-ours are leveled (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and categorized (fiction, nonfiction, bilingual). We organize our books in this way so that students don't have to waste time looking through many books that are obviously not accessible to them. For example, a newcomer having to thumb through 10 intermediate or advanced books before he or she finds a readable