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ESL spelling/reading question
Old 08-22-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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I teach 6th grade self contained in a small private school with no ESL or paras for help. I have two ESL students in my class. They tested below normal on the achievement tests last spring. I haven't finished reading assessments, but the spelling assessment and intitial writing samples tell me they are at a 3rd maybe early 4th grade level.

The girl's family is from Mexico. Spanish is the primary language spoken in the home-but she learned to read and speak English simultaneously in K. The boy was adopted from Ecuador around 18months of age, but had limited socialization prior to adoption. He speaks little Spanish anymore, although his family is bilingual. Parents were missionaries in Ecuador until 4 years ago.

What techniques/strategies can I use when I work with them in spelling and reading? They are both very self-conscious and fearful. They have both had negative school experiences in the past, and I want to give them what they need.


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Old 08-23-2009, 06:00 AM
 
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As far as reading goes, I would start at the level they can read. It is great that you know the level so you can begin there. There is a website-you have to subscribe- called www.readinga-z.com- where the books can be printed out and are by levels. There are also reading suggestions. Or library books at their reading level. If possible provide them with Spanish books from the library to read from for familiarity.
People are able to read, write and speak in more than one language and knowing more than one language can strengthen the others because you learn patterns and see similarities in vocabulary. Plus, they already know the same alphabet as English.
A difficulty for them may be vowel sounds-phonics in general because there is only one sound for vowels in Spanish. So them studying sight word may be more helpful for them so they can feel more confident when reading.
You could have them do word study for spelling. There are 2 books, if you are not familiar, Word Journeys by Kathy Ganske and Words Their Way, I forget the authors. These books help them learn work patterns through sorting words. (You can probably look at this site for more info on word study)
Let them write in the language they are more comfortable in initially. Later, after they have more experience in English language their writing will change.
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