Reading Strategies

Reading

Here you will find some reading strategies to help with ESOL students.

Be careful when looking at each strategy as they could vary on grade level. All can be adapted to fit any grade level.



The ESOL Performance Standard that is covered in these strategies is:

ELD.K12.ELL.LA.1-English language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts.



  1. Repeated Reading: Using Script Writing and Reader’s Theater (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Reader’s Theater-Fluency
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Participate in retelling stories they have read.
      • Write dialogue based on stories they have read.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFA.1.RF.4.4-Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
    • For this strategy, the teacher will read a book that is common to the students or one that has already been read in the classroom. (Having the students help choose the book will also be helpful.) Once the book has been chosen, the teacher will read-aloud the book to the students, making sure to use expression and stopping to ask questions. Once the teacher has finished reading the book, the students will help to create their own story based on the book just read. This story will become the text the students will perform for their Reader’s Theater. The teacher will go through the book asking the students to come up with dialogue which the teacher will write down. Once the dialogue has been completed the teacher will read it to the students and then the students will choose parts. The students will then read through their parts to each other until they feel comfortable with it. Once the students are ready, they can perform their story to the class.
    • The teacher should make sure to reread the book to the students and to write down their thoughts and dialogue for them. **Some Reader’s Theater texts can even be found online if there is not time to come up with a story. Just make sure the teacher reads it to the students first.**
    • This strategy adds a fun aspect to reading and to fluency. Students get to be creative with their story and then get to perform it. This allows them to become more interested and excited as they can be proud of what they have created.
    • Example of a Reader’s Theater: The Three Little Pigs
    • Website on Reader’s Theater:
  2. Free Voluntary Reading: Nothing Helps Reading Like Reading (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Free Voluntary Reading
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Read and discuss books read at the recreational reading level.
      • Relate events and characters in series books.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.RL.1.2-Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
    • This strategy is all about getting students excited and wanting to read. It is important that students are reading at their grade level so special attention needs to be given to each students grade level so the student also knows what grade level they are on.  The teacher can give a student reading attitude survey or even a reading interest survey to see what the students attitude is towards reading and what their interests are. Both of these will help to get books that will best interest them and make them want to read. The purpose is to get your students to read in their free time without you having to tell them. Find out what interests your students and give them reading options that fit those interests. Then give your students motivation to read and get them discussing with their classmates about what they have read. When there is discussion about books read in the class then other students will get interested as well.
    • The teacher should be just as excited about reading and students should see the teacher reading in their free time as well. The teacher still has to act as a model and needs to encourage reading as much as possible and make it appealing.
    • This strategy is so important as ELLs need to be reading. When an ELL has a book that does interest them they will be more likely to read and comprehend. They will also have more motivation to read so by encouraging free voluntary reading, it only helps ELL students.
    • Website to help get students interested in reading:
    • Sample Reading Attitude Surveybooks-20clipart-eaTeL67i4
  3. Read, Pair, Share: Working with a Partner to Negotiate Meaning (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Comprehension
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Talk about a book they’ve read or heard.
      • Listen to another person’s ideas about a book.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.RL.1.3-Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
    • For this strategy students work together to read a passage and answer the questions relating to the passage. Students read the passage together and stop after each paragraph to answer the questions, who, what, when, where, how and why. If they cannot answer one of the questions then they go back to the text to find the answer and reread. (Sometimes they do not need to answer the why question.) Students work through the whole passage together until they have completely read the whole passage and understand it. Students should discuss what they have read to make sure both of them comprehend what was just read. A worksheet can be given to help guide the students, to remind them where to stop and the questions to answer.
    • The teacher needs to model how the strategy works and also how to work with a partner. The teacher also needs to be careful when pairing students together. ELLs should be paired with a strong reader who is going to be helpful. The teacher should also go through the question words and how to find answers to the questions as some students can get caught up on the questions. Finally, the teacher needs to make sure to monitor the classroom.
    • This strategy is so great for ELLs as it allows them to work with someone stronger who will help and encourage them. They are also getting the chance to break apart a passage to better comprehend it, stopping periodically to answer questions. They also get to communicate with their partner for even more understanding.RPS
  4.  Collecting and Processing Words: Making Vocabulary Your Own (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Vocabulary
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Identify words in specified categories.
      • Use new vocabulary in oral production.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.L.3.4-Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
    • This strategy is about collecting words discovered by the children as they listen to or read stories or as they listen to and participate in conversations. When students locate and add words they are also responsible for helping other students understand the meanings of these new words. While the words are being collected within the classroom, students engage in finding ways to process, or use, these new words. It is all about the students making these new vocabulary words familiar to them so they can own them can make them their own.
    • The teacher needs to provide the support and materials for the students to find new words and to make meaning of them. The teacher should display a chart that has the words listed and also have space for the students to add to the list. It is important that the student does take control of their learning with some support from the teacher and other students. The teacher should also challenge the students to create a vocabulary journal with these new words and challenge them to use them in new ways to make them their own. The teacher also needs to make sure that they do assess the students’ understanding of the vocabulary words to see if further instruction is needed.
    • ELLs will benefit from this strategy as it allows them to find their own words that they don’t understand and find ways to understand them. They also are going to benefit from the other students explaining words to them.
    • http://www.edutopia.org/vocabulary-development-online Vocabulary
  5. Cloze: Using Context to Create Meaning (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Reading Comprehension
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Supply omitted words in a cloze sentence based on context.
      • Suggest optional words for substitution in a sentence based on context.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.RL.1.2-Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
    • Cloze activities are mainly used to assess reading comprehension and they are based on written text where some words are left out and blanks are inserted. These activities can be adapted to the specific needs of the student and they provide a meaningful context in which to teach English vocabulary and reading decoding skills. Cloze activities help English Language Learners by helping them focus on meaning in reading. There are also four types of cloze activities: traditional, syntactic, semantic, and graphophonic. It is important that the teacher find or create the appropriate cloze activity for their students unless the activity won’t be beneficial.
    • The teacher can make a cloze activity based on a story that the class has read to assess if the student understands what was read. The teacher can take a chunk of text from the story and then take some words out. The student will then have to fill in the words with what they think makes sense. This strategy allows for the teacher to see where the student’s understanding is.
    • ELLs benefit from this strategy as they aren’t being required to recall every detail from the story or text. They are given context to help them better understand and to decode what was read. If an ELL does understand the text that was read then they will have an easier time filling in the cloze assessment. The cloze assessment can be difficult if the ELL does not know the words so a word bank can be provided. Overall, the cloze assessment does help ELLs to focus on the meaning of the story or passage that was read and allows the teacher to see where the student struggles.
    • The Cloze Test Information
    • http://l.georges.online.fr/tools/cloze.htmlCloze
  6. Guided Reading: Providing Individual Support within a Group Setting (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Repeated Reading
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Respond to teacher questions to make sense of text.
      • Use a balance of cueing systems to unlock unknown words.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.RL.1.1-Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
    • This strategy starts off with a book walk to get the students interested in the book and to get them thinking of what might happen in the story before they read. This helps to guide the reading. Students then start to read the book on their own as the teacher listens in to see how the students are doing. Then the teacher can gauge what needs to be addressed or taught. The teacher also needs to provide the students with different strategies to use when reading to aid comprehension and guide the students as they read. It is also important that the teacher have the students repeat things if there is a difficulty in understanding and reading.
    • To help answer questions after the reading, the teacher can continue to guided reading by helping the student look back at the text to find the answer. The teacher might read where the answer is and then have the students repeat what was read to find the answer. By having the teacher read it first, it helps the student to actually hear what he or she is reading to find and understand the answer. Students also participate in a group discussion on what was read to help with the understanding.
    • This approach is helpful to ELLs because of the focus on vocabulary development, individual instruction, and opportunities for verbal interactions. The ELLs participate in a group discussion of the story and the vocabulary encountered so they benefit from the language interactions of the small-group setting.
    • Video on Guided Reading
      guided
  7. Learning Strategy Instruction: Acquiring Self-Help Skills (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Imagery
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Recognize and verbalize when they don’t understand.
      • Employ self-help strategies to correct errors.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.RL.3.7-Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
    • For this strategy, it focuses on supporting students in understanding their own learning and in monitoring the methods and results of strategies they use in reading. When a student is able to use self-help strategies, they are able to enhance their own instruction. Imagery is when students use mental or drawn pictures to aid in memory or understanding and it plays a crucial role in reading. When a student is able to create an image in their head of what they are reading they are able to better understand. The teacher wants to model how to create imagery and show different examples of what imagery can be. There are many strategies that can be taught and once they are taught, the teacher can display help posters for the students to look back on.
    • The teacher might even open up with an activity that requires the students to close their eyes and focus on what they see. It is important that the teacher does model whatever strategy first and then explain it to the student. The teacher also needs to monitor how the students are using the strategy and if they are benefiting from them.
    • Imagery is very helpful to ELLs as they have an image to connect to the words being read. They can also focus on what they hear to create an image instead of focusing only on the words. Sometimes ELLs struggle with reading but with visuals they are able to relate the picture to the words to form an understanding of what is occurring in the story.
    • Self Help in the Classroom and Outside the ClassroomSelf-Help
  8. Tutorials: Closing the Achievement Gap (Taken from 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners by A.L Herrel and M. Jordan)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Continuous Improvement Model (CIM)
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Participate in activities to move them into grade-level curriculum.
      • Demonstrate understanding of basic curriculum concepts.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.RL.4.10-With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
    • The Continuous Improvement Model (CIM) focuses on having a warm-up, then the lesson for the day, followed by the independent practice, and finishing up with a daily quiz. The daily quiz is what tells the teacher which students need more instruction. This model is based on the premises that all students can learn and that additional instruction must be planned and provided for those who need it. Tutorials are used to make sure that everyone meets the standards. It is all about setting apart time in the day to work with students who need additional instruction.
    • In reading, the teacher can use tutorials as they read a story. The teacher can use a CIM to prepare the lesson around the story and then to see which students need special attention. The teacher can easily set aside time during independent reading after the story lesson has been complete. The daily quiz provides for a quick assessment for the teacher to gauge who is where with the lesson. The teacher can then plan for differentiation to help all students.
    • ELLs benefit from tutorials because the planning that is involved requires teachers to expand their teaching strategies and to find new, innovative ways of delivering instruction. The ELLs also benefit by having the opportunity to improve instead of just having to move on.CIM
  9. Questioning to Aid Comprehension (Taken from Scholastic and Previous Knowledge)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Questioning
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Use the proper questions when there is misunderstanding.
      • Ask questions when appropriate.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.SL.1.2-Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
    • This strategy focuses on how to ask proper questions that will help to understand a passage. It is important that students are asking the right questions so their time is spent well and so they are gaining a better understanding of the passage. When a student can ask the right questions, it allows them to focus instead of asking questions that won’t help. Questions can be asked before, during, and after reading. It is important to set up your questions before reading to focus your reading. During reading, students might form new questions as well as after reading.
    • The teacher should model how to ask proper questions through a think-aloud. The teacher can also display an anchor chart for students to look back on. The teacher should also discuss the importance of asking questions so the students can understand why there is the need to ask questions. It is also important that the teacher explain the difference between a close reading question and a basic question. Students should be going more in depth in the reading from the questions they ask.
    • ELLs will benefit from being instructed on how to ask the proper questions as it will help to focus their reading and instruction. If they can ask the right questions then they can better understand what is being read. Questioning is a huge aid in comprehension when done properly and that is why teachers need to instruct students on how to ask the right questions.
    • http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/questioning-text
  10. Story Skeletons: Teaching Plot Structure (Taken from Reading Rockets)
    • Grade: 1st grade
      • Plot Structure
    • TESOL Standards for PreK-3 Students:
      • Recognize different plot structures in picture books.
      • Talk about a story’s plot structure.
    • Common Core Standard:
      • LAFS.1.RL.1.3-Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
    • This strategy focuses on teaching story structure to students by comparing it to our skeleton that holds us all together. Just like how our skeleton holds us up right and together, the structure of a story does the same to hold the story together. It allows students to understand why the structure of a story is important. Students are then introduced to different structures through the use of picture books. When the student is able to tell the structure of a story, they are able to better understand the story as a whole.
    • It is important that the teacher explains and gives or shows examples of the different types of story structures so the students know what they are to be looking for. The teacher should also model how to look for specific story structures. It will take some time for the students to get used to the many different kinds of structures so the teacher should group structures and focus on a couple at a time.
    • ELLs will benefit from this strategy as it allows for more structure for themselves as well. It allows them to follow along better as well if they know what the structure is going to be like. Also the analogy of the story structure to our skeleton allows them to have a more concrete idea of the importance of story structures.
    • http://www.readingrockets.org/article/story-skeletons-teaching-plot-structure-picture-books
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