Promising ELL Practices - Towson University

Promising Practices with
ELL Students
Dr. Gilda Martinez
Towson University
Maryland TESOL
These are supposedly real notes written
by parents in the Memphis school district.
Spellings have been left intact.
1. My son is under a doctor's care and
should not take PE today. Please execute him.
2. Please exkuce Lisa for being absent she was
sick and I had her shot.
3. Please excuse Gloria from jim today.
She is administrating.
Second Language Literacy Panel: Preface
• Significant
increase in immigrant students
• 4.6
million ELL students – according to the U.S.
lag behind native English speakers
in school
•Components of Literacy
• Same
as from the National Reading Panel
• Adjustments
• Oral
in instruction should be made
language development should be provided
“Fab 5” of NRP
• Do
you know what they are?
Fab 5…
• Phonemic
• Phonics
• Vocabulary
• Comprehension
• Fluency
Research for ELL
• Very
• More
descriptive in nature
Less focused on tests
Less focused on instruction
More research on ELL…is NEEDED!
• to
replicate what has been done
• to
investigate what other practices work for ELL
Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Issues
for ELL
• Sounds
differ in languages
• Graphemes
• Unfamiliar
can have different sounds in L1
phonemes and graphemes
make decoding and spelling difficult
Phonemic Awareness and
Phonics Research
• Similar
to native speakers, phonemic
awareness and phonics instruction helps
develop reading skills
• Same
• This
tasks can be used to teach it
instruction can take place while
learning English
Phonemic Awareness and
Phonics Assessment
• Pronunciation
differences should not be
counted as errors (such as with the Reading
Miscue Inventory or RMI)
• Speed
and accuracy should be assessed
•RMI Purposes
• Notes
reading strategies
• Looking
at patterns of miscues
• Looking
at quality not quantity of miscues
• Retelling
to note comprehension
RMI Procedure
Pick a text you are reading in class (have a copy for yourself
to write on)
Write down the miscues
Have student retell what they read
use outline as a check list
Encourage further comments (such as, “What else? Hmmmm.”)
Analyze miscues for patterns (20-25 miscues)
Tape record all of the above
Coding for an RMI
Unsuccessful correction
Dialect or language variations
Non-word substitutions
Intonation shift
Repeated miscues
Repetitions (read correctly)
Partial miscue
write substituted word above
circle word omitted
dog ate
dash after partial word
What is a miscue?
• Substitutions
• Omissions
• Insertions
• Reversals
• Intonation
that change grammar
• Unsuccessful corrections
• Dialect that change grammar
• Skipped lines (count as one miscue)
What is NOT a miscue?
Repeated miscue (making the same miscue later in
the text for the same word)
Repetition of text that is read correctly more than
RMI Listening Time…University of North Carolina
RMI helps teachers develop what skills?
RMI helps teachers develop students’…
Reading skills…of course.
Pronunciation (Abuela – entendia todo)
You come across many academic vocabulary words (or
more elaborate vocabulary by reading than through
conversations) that you can practice learning the correct
pronunciation and meaning too
Students can listen to their tape recording to hear
themselves or their peers to have discussions
Having conversations with peers about readings helps build
speaking skills and reading comprehension
Fluency Issues for ELL
• Fluency
embraces both word recognition and
• ELLs
do not get enough opportunities to read
aloud in English while receiving feedback
Fluency Research with ELL
• Too
few studies with ELL
• Fluency
training appears to similarly benefit
English speaking and ELL students
Fluency Assessment
• We
do not know if benchmarks for L1 are
appropriate for L2 based on the research that
Well….we know that it is not. The SLL Panel said
they could not determine it based on the research.
• Studies
do indicate that with intervention,
ELLs can reach benchmarks for English speakers
More ways to develop fluency, speaking,
and listening skills too:
Reader’s Theatre
Partner reading
Keep talking to them ;-)
Digital Stories (coming up later)
Vocabulary Issues
• ELLs
arrive at school with very limited basic
• They
may be able to name objects or concepts
in their native language, but not have the
vocabulary word to name it in English
Vocabulary Issues
• Some
vocabulary may be especially important
in comprehending connected text, this requires
explicit instruction, such as: then, second, third
• If
cognates exist between languages, it is
beneficial to teach them
• Words
with multiple meanings can be
Vocabulary Research
• Very
little here
• Should
begin explicit vocabulary instruction
Vocabulary Assessment
No specific words have been noted for ELL instruction
for different age ranges
Therefore, the panel suggests assessing vocabulary
from the curriculum
Depth of word meaning should also be
• This
link provides webs for vocabulary
words. Check it out!
Coxhead Academic vocabulary
Comprehension Issues for ELLs
• Limited
vocabulary impedes comprehension
• Structural
differences of languages can be
• Background
knowledge will vary
Comprehension Research
• Very
little here…hmmm
• Need
to focus on strengths and needs of ELL
Comprehension Assessment
• Many
do not provide guidance for instruction
based on the assessment results
Before, During, and After Reading
What are they?
Before Reading:
• Activating
background knowledge
• Investigating text structure
• Setting a purpose for reading
• Predicting text content
• Reviewing and clarifying vocabulary
During Reading:
• Establishing
the purpose for each part of the
• Self-monitoring
• Visualizing
• Summarizing
• Confirming/rejecting predictions
• Identifying and clarifying key ideas
After Reading:
Assessing if the purpose for reading was met
• Paraphrasing important information
• Identifying the main idea and details
• Making comparisons
• Connecting
• Drawing conclusions
• Summarizing
• Analyzing
Professor Garfield – Check it out!
In the Book Check it out!
Practice with Mike – Check it out!
Three Tiers of Instruction
• Beneficial
for ELL and native English
• Need
• Need
to monitor progress
to provide additional support
where necessary
•Three Tiers
Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3
core reading program with phonemic awareness, phonics,
fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension
•Progress monitoring a benchmark tests at least three times
per year (fall, winter, and spring)
•Ongoing professional development
•Supplementary program
for small groups that are not progressing
•Students still
struggling get more tutoring
time and smaller groups
Building Language Proficiency
• Need
to build language proficiency during
reading block
• Additional
time is probably necessary
• Embedding
this into content instruction
builds content knowledge and language
Bottom line…
To improve LAS Links scores, you must test prep
Use the ideas suggested already, AND also
use similar formatted questions including bubbles,
Use the LAS Links Instructional Guidance
bubble sheets you have
Use survey monkey to make bubbly activities!
Survey Monkey – Check it out!
Time for Digital Stories!
TED Talks
The TED conference brings together people from
three worlds: Technology, Entertainment,
and Design.
Sugata Mitra's Experiments in Self-Teaching:
As you watch the video, think about how
this relates to your ELL students.
What did you learn from his research?
How does this relate to teaching ELL?
My thoughts on the matter…
• Repeated
modeling of proper pronunciation
helps teach proper pronunciation
the students taught the computer to record their
voice, but had to learn how to pronounce words by
listening to the computer
• Independent
reading helps build English and
content skills
the students learning science
My thoughts on the matter…
• Encouraging
students by asking questions
promotes further discussion, investigation,
and learning
The grandmother method
• Working
in groups help students remember
• Use technology – it is very motivating for
learning! 
Upcoming TED Event:
• TEDxMidAtlantic
2010 will be held on
November 5 at Sidney Harman Hall in
Washington, DC
• Information:
• Registration:
Teaching Diverse Learners
• What
did you think is helpful?
What will you do?
Maryland TESOL

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