Teaching ESL

Reading Aloud With Students
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Author:  NewbieTeacher [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:28 am ]
Post subject:  Reading Aloud With Students

Hi guys!

Just wanted to say first of all that, while I'm a new member, I've been coming to this site for a while (well, for the whole two months I've been teaching, that is). As so many have said before, this is a great site, and I do appreciate all the materials available FOR FREE!! However, I also really appreciate hearing ideas and teaching strategies from a variety of experienced teachers, and I look forward to joining in the conversation myself.

So a question for you all: I am trying to incorporate storybooks into my children's classes as I can. Many of my classes are 1:1, and my largest group has 3 students. I am still experimenting with the process for reading with them. The first time I read with them, I read the whole book to them out loud myself, with them just looking at the pics. Then I went back and we read it again, with them taking turns reading too. My rationale was that the more times you experience a text, the more you'll understand it, right? But they seemed much less engaged when I read the whole text myself. But, if I read it myself, then I can help convey meaning through intonation, model correct pronunciation, etc. I did notice that the kids are very eager to read aloud themselves. Since another teacher friend told me not to expect perfection when they read aloud (am I perfect when I read aloud in Spanish? NO!), I've chilled out some about that. But, I do have one student in a one-to-one class that has horrible, HORRIBLE pronunciation! She is usually quite assertive about grabbing the book and starting to read out loud everything by herself. When I follow along with her on the page, I often can't even tell what the heck she's saying.

So, I guess my question is: what are your suggestions for the process of reading aloud to students? What strategies have you found work well for you? Also, I would be interested in using role plays/plays to extend on the story, but I'm not really sure how to go about executing that either . . .
Any ideas would be appreciated!

Author:  mesmark [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:15 am ]
Post subject: 

Cristy - Welcome to the forums and I'm glad the site has been helpful.

I like to walk through the book, not necessarily read the book as is the first time. I point out the main characters and their names. I talk about the scenes and what's in the pictures as I briefly go over the plot. Then I read the story.

That's with really little kids and I don't actually do any reading aloud in my classes. It's not that I don't think it's good, I just don't see my students enough to spend the time doing that.

As far as pronounciation goes, does your student aslo have speaking problems in Spanish? I've had a few kids like that. They still speak like toddlers in their L1, and it seems to affect their ability to make sounds in English as well. (I know we have some speech therapist lurking around in here :) If any of them could comment on that, it would be great!)

I've also found that phonics really helps with pronounciation. It isolates the English sounds and gets them to practice their formation. As well as helping with pronounciation, I believe it also helps with listening.

If the girl is enjoying reading, I would try to encourage rather than possibly discourage. You might let her go with the book but have a sentence or two from the book. Get the girl on the page that has that sentence. Read the sentence aloud yourself and have the girl find it on the page. Then maybe read just one word from the sentence and have her point to the single words, shuffling around. I'd make it kind of like a game. Then in the end have her read the sentence and then maybe the page.

My thought process there is to get her to listen to the correct pronounciation a few times and then read herself. She might begin to self correct if she realises the difference.

It also might be that she has no idea what she is reading. In an attempt to read fluently or seem to be reading fluently, she is just making sounds. She may have a reading problem in Spanish as well. Are you able to ask anyone about that?

How old is she? How long has she been studying English?

Here are some threads on reading that you might find useful
Sentence level or text level comprehension

Reading and phonics - might be good for pronounciation

Author:  keepie [ Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Cristy,

I teach adults and I have always been convinced that reading aloud is very good for learning a language.
It improves talking, fluency and spelling all the same.

With your kids maybe read the book bit by bit first and let them read it bit by bit, too. You could take away a bit of the tension in them as they can't wait reading by themselves, as you explain.

About the girl with those pronunciation problems I of course totally agree with Mark.
It might be useful to sing a few songs with her to make her more familiar with the melody and the sounds of the English language.
As it seems to work with singing that you don't necessarily have to understand what you are singing to produce a good singalong.

To work further on the text the roleplays are a good idea. If you have actual dialogues you could let them read it with distributed roles and make them act out a similar situation afterwards.

I hope this helped a bit. Good luck!

Author:  BradSemans [ Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:40 am ]
Post subject:  DYAY, PHONICS, and Praise

Hi All,
I'll just add a few comments to what has already been said here.

First, more and more researchers are coming to understand when correction is effective, and what kind is the most effective. Most studies on with young learners show that minimum correction is the best overall. WHen I am teaching reading to my younger students I give nothing but praise while I make mental notes of persistent errors. I later bring these up in not intrusive ways. The idea is that the more you praise, the more students will find the self-motivation to learn more.

As far as phonics go for a lot of second language learners the subtle differences in vowel sounds pose a lot of pronunciation trouble. Teaching phonics to help student first recognize these differences and then voice them will help in reading and also in pronunciation.

FInally there has been a lot of research done on DYAD reading in teaching native speakers to read. Even though this has been done for natives, the application to ESL/EFL reading is pretty clear. DYAD is really just a fancy way to say pair reading. Having a stronger reader lead while the weaker reader reads at the same time. By following the stronger reader's finger they learn to recognize words and utilize phonics knowledge more quickly and fluently. Here are a few good links on the topic.


http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q ... n16705283/


Author:  NewbieTeacher [ Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:58 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks, all, for the thoughtful responses. I did read several of those articles that were posted throughout the discussion, particulary the ones on Dyad reading. I feel like I am starting to hear some (some!) improvements on some pronunciation. For example, she has been pronouncing "Friday" as "Freeday," but in the last class she pronounced it correctly. I would like to believe this is from hearing it modeled correctly. We'll see next class if it was a fluke!

Some of it might be that in her English classroom at school, she is not hearing proper English modeled. That is to say, it's highly possible that she has a non-native teacher that doesn't speak well (I teach at an after-school school, where I have her twice a week), which from what I hear is fairly common in Spanish schools. This girl is 9 years old, and I know has been studying Spanish at least for several years.

I do appreciate the suggestion of studying phonics. I am definitely seeing with adults how this can be a powerful and effective tool. However, at this point with the kids, I feel a little overwhelmed at trying to teach phonics--finding a way to make it interesting, directly relevant . . . I'm only just now hitting my stride for what material I need to actually be teaching my kids at all (I've decided to parallel themes they are studying in English at school, supplementing that information).

Your suggestions are ones I will continue to ponder. Thanks again for your help!

By the way, Mark, I find it fascinating that you were a pharmacist. I worked in a hospital as a secretary for 6 years, and I loved it dearly. However, I've always had a passion for teaching, so I'm trying this now. We'll see which one wins out in the end!

Author:  mesmark [ Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:30 am ]
Post subject: 

NewbieTeacher wrote:
By the way, Mark, I find it fascinating that you were a pharmacist. I worked in a hospital as a secretary for 6 years, and I loved it dearly. However, I've always had a passion for teaching, so I'm trying this now. We'll see which one wins out in the end!

More than a few people are often surprised by it. :) I was actually more of a math/science student in school. I chose pharmacy out of high school and just stuck with it. I thought of double majoring and getting a M. Ed. but got a bit tired of school and loans. I thought I might be a high school science teacher and work in a pharmacy over the summer.

Goes to show how things don't always go according to plan :)

Author:  jahkamakura [ Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

I read aloud to every class that I teach, even the older bilingual kids. I try to find books that are related to the topics we're studying so the vocabulary they are learning is reinforced in the story that they are hearing. Often I'll read the same book each class (4 times) for a month.

We also use the A-Z Reading books for kids to learn to read aloud. The very beginning books start with pictures that match the words. We model these books together in class, read them in partners and then they read them individually and take them home.

Could it be that her pronunciation is bad because she doesn't have strong enough phonics skills? I like to use books on CD because that way they are following all while listen to correct pronunciation. Perhaps focus on one or two words, that she mispronounces, a week. That way she won't be overwhelmed with corrections.


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