Using Big Books: A Standards-Based Instructional Approach for Foreign Language Teacher Candidates in a PreK–12 Program


  • Susan Colville-Hall,

    1. University of Akron
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      Susan Colville-Hall (PhD) is Associate Professor in Foreign Language Teacher Preparation, College of Education, University of Akron, Ohio.

  • Barbara O'Connor

    1. University of Akron
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      Barbara O'Connor (PhD) is Assistant Professor in Early Childhood, College of Education, University of Akron, Ohio.


ABSTRACT: Foreign language teacher candidates learn to bring literacy in second languages (L2s) to children through a standards-based task in which they develop a thematic instructional unit, implement the lessons in foreign language enrichment classes in an urban school, and reflect on student learning. To teach reading in an L2 requires knowledge of literacy theories, first language (L1) reading practices, L2 reading practices, second language acquisition (SLA), and Standards for Foreign Language Learning (National Standards, 1999). For the last several years, teacher candidates developed “big book” units after studying current literacy theory and practice. The task of designing and implementing a big book and teaching unit afforded them experience that had pedagogical benefits. As they gained knowledge of techniques for learners' acquisition of interpretive skills, candidates expressed the value of their learning experiences and opportunities. These teacher candidates also articulated an appreciation that reading, as a tool within a familiar and meaning-based context (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004), is essential in L2 learning.