Promoting Literacy Development for Beginning English Learners





Studies show that teachers struggle with meeting the needs of immigrant students, especially recent arrivals (Szente, Hoot, & Taylor, 2006; Tadesse, Hoot, & Watson-Thompson, 2009). To some extent, this is due to the instructional method and unfamiliar curriculum to the students. This column presents elements of one teacher's literacy instruction with a newly arrived English Learner (EL) as he developed his language and literacy skills. The teacher supported the student by previewing the text, discussing key vocabulary words, writing short sentences that connect personal information with that of the character in the text, creating bilingual dictionaries for learning words, simple expressions, and English grammatical structures, linking personal classroom experiences with events/actions in the text, using the native language to make concepts and Ideas comprehensible, participating in guided reading instruction, engaging in story retelling, and writing a summary of the text.