This is the book our year 8 groups reading this term. I have 2 EAL students in one of the groups; one boy comes from Pakistan and the other boy comes from China. Both of them are literate in first languages; Urdu and Mandarin. Chinese boy has been to the UK for 5 months. He didn’t study any English in school. Urdu speaker has been to the UK for a year and a half and he studied some English in his school in Pakistan.
They both like to read stories in their first language. Urdu and Mandarin alphabet characters are different then English alphabet characters therefore both attended our 6weeks literacy group, designed for illiterate students, to learn the letters and phonics. They also attended our KS3 EAL 12 Subject Induction programme.
To assess EAL students, we use ‘A language in common levels’; please see the link below.
Urdu speaker’s reading level is 3 and the Mandarin speaker’s reading level is 1S according to these levels.
Level 1Secure descriptors;
Pupils use their knowledge of letters, sounds and words to establish meaning when reading familiar texts aloud, sometimes with prompting. They comment on events or ideas in poems, stories and non-fiction.
· use of worksheets supported by visual cues
· games, lotto / pelmanism
· matching beginnings and ends of sentences
· paired reading
· use of tapes to listen and record (developing intonation patterns)
· answer questions with short phrases
· sequence text with pictures
· read play scripts of familiar texts (developing intonation and expression, and understanding of character
Level 3 descriptors;
Pupils understand many culturally embedded references and idioms, but may still require explanations. From Key stage 2 onwards pupils can read a range of complex texts starting to go beyond the literal by using some higher order reading skills such as inference, deduction and hypothesis.
Pupils read a range of texts fluently and accurately. They read independently, using strategies appropriately to establish meaning. In responding to fiction and non-fiction they show understanding of the main points and express preferences. They use their knowledge of the alphabet to locate books and find information.
· dictionary / thesaurus work
· use of highlighter to track ideas at paragraph / text level
· visual / audio / video support for text
· interactive visual display around text
· opportunities to link to personal experiences
· hot seating characters
· provide a framework to ask / answer questions about the text e.g. who, what, where grid, book reviews
· discuss homonyms
· explain cultural references / nuances
· cross-curricular references and links
Before reading activities that I did with the students;
We looked at the cover of the book and I asked following questions;
1. What is the name of the book? Who is it written by?
2. What can you see in the picture? Is it a man or a woman?
3. What colours can you see in the picture?
4. What colour is the man’s eyes? Is he a white or a black man?
5. Why does he have different teeth? What does he do with them?
6. What is the liquid coming out of his mouth?
7. How is he feeling? What are his emotions? Is he happy or angry? Is he feeling weak or strong?
8. How does he make us feel; scared, irritated, upset, weak etc.?
9. What else can you see in the picture?
10. What are these flying animals called? Why are they important?
11. Is it day or night time? How do you know?
12. What are the buildings called? Where is this story set then?
13. What would you do if you see this man on the road? What would you do if you were this man?
Afterwards we looked at the blurb and determined the following;
Setting (Where and when?): 1886, London.
Plot (What happens): Eddie, George, Liz and Sir William must separate the terrifying truth from the lies and fiction. Or else we shall all be doomed as they return to do battle with their greatest foe yet...
Finally we watched the short clip to promote the book on YouTube and discussed the setting, tone of music and the heartbeat in the end.
Follow up: To discuss with the students if they have similar stories in their countries. What are they called? Why are they similar? Who are the characters and what do they do?