Sunday, 6 February 2011

Part 4- English language reading provision for EAL Students who are not literate in their first language

Choosing the right text

This session clearly shows us that stories which are created by the students themselves are effective to teach reading because students relate to them and make sense of what they read.  

Malik has been attending to the Ruth Miskin literacy group in school for 3 months. However, this did not help him a lot because it purely aims to teach reading from phonetics and words without a context. (A sample to this program attached)  This program is effective for native English speakers; however it does not seem to work with EAL students because those students do not have the same educational and cultural background; therefore they find very difficult to predict the words unless they are in a context which makes sense to their knowledge of world.

If we would like Malik to become an independent reader, we have to find other strategies and teach him how to use those strategies independently to read better.

Learner-readers tend to have difficulties with texts whose language is particularly remote from what they usually either speak or hear. There are certain items of language of low occurrence in spoken English and non-occurring in many E2L learners’ speech which appear to cause particular difficulty.

Malik has been attending once a week to Lewisham-Greenwich Young People’s Theatre ‘Voices’ Project created for EAL Students since mid- April. It aims to teach English through drama. It is helping him to express himself which also gives the opportunity to reflect on events. I registered him to this program to help with his language development. In addition, he shares his worries with the other children who had similar experiences.

He also goes to a community school in Deptford for two hours every Sunday morning.

Refugee children have specific language needs – most newly-arrived asylum – seeking children enter the school system speaking little or no English. Particular attention should be given to supporting language learning for children whose prior education has been interrupted. As literacy is such as the Literacy Hour in England should be accessible to children for whom English is an additional language. Refugee children also need to maintain and develop their own language. There is now clear evidence that children who continue to study in their first language perform better in school than those who are not able to develop their first language.

Malik has improved his speaking rapidly because he already speaks two languages. However, he has never learnt reading or writing in those languages. Therefore, he attends to guided reading sessions that I run once a week in school. The texts I choose for these sessions are the stories of different genres such as; folk tales, adventure and mystery stories.

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