Setting Reading Goals with English Language Learners

Do you need to set a reading goal for your "newcomers," aka, beginning English language learners, that measures a certain level of growth by the end of the school year? Some teachers, if not most, are asked to create SMARTR goals for student progress: S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Attainable, R=Relevant, T=Time-bound. So, what is a realistic amount of growth for students who have not yet acquired basic communication or literacy skills in English? And what can we do to maximize their growth?

Teach Reading Comprehension Skills Using Short Films

I love using short films to teach reading comprehension skills, and my students love watching them!


Why do I love using them?
Show a short film and students are engaged! Visual learners and students who typically struggle with reading comprehension, including English language learners (ELLs), have greater success practicing comprehension skills with shorts. Most shorts do not have dialogue, they're all action. My students, regardless of their level of language proficiency, "get" the lesson more easily because the shorts are visual.

K.I.M. - A Highly Effective Strategy to Build Vocabulary Across Any Content Area

In my last post, I shared briefly about a strategy that I use to build vocabulary for my beginning English Language Learners (ELLs) called the K.I.M. Strategy. Today I want to share with you in more detail about what this strategy is, why I use it, and how I differentiate it to meet the needs of ALL students.

The K.I.M. Strategy is a low prep, high yield strategy that supports ALL levels of learners across ALL content areas. Now, you can't get much better than that!

Small Group Work with Beginning English Language Learners


As an ESL teacher, I often hear from classroom teachers that they don't always know where to start when it comes to working with beginning English language learners (ELLs), or newcomers, in small guided reading groups. In this post I'll share a typical "guided reading" lesson that I would give to my beginning ELLs, as well as a glance of at what a typical week would look like.

Classroom Organization: Setting Up a Guided Reading Binder

Hello!  This summer has flown by, and the countdown for going back to school is on!!  In just under a week I official go back, but I know that many teachers have already been back for several weeks.

One of the first items on my to-do list is to set up my guided reading binder. I thought I'd share with you how I do that, in case you find it helpful in setting up your own.

Guided reading is such an important part of the day. That's when we meet with our small groups and target their reading instruction. There's nothing more important than teaching our students how to read, or how to become stronger readers. And let's face it, there is a LOT of organizing involved with guided reading! We need to know our kids' reading levels. We need to know their strengths and weaknesses. We need to keep track of  their progress (data!). We need to have a weekly schedule. We need to make lesson plans!  And more!  Here's how I keep all of that organized...

"Reading is Thinking" - A Carousel Activity


This is one of my all-time favorite activities to do with my students!  It's a "Reading is Thinking" carousel activity and students love it. ("Carousel" because students are moving in a circular pattern from, in this case,  poster to poster.) I like to save this one for the end of the year, you know...when testing is done, summer is looming over our shoulders and the kids are going a bit stir crazy.  The best part about this activity... it's SILENT!

5 Easy Steps to Setting Up "Reading Response Journals"


Hi there!!!  Can I just say...life is CRAZY!!  How do we do it all?  I don't know, but we do!  Hats off to all of my teacher friends out there who do it ALL every day!!

Now, down to business.  I am ALL about teaching my students how to become "readers who think," or "thinker readers." ;)  During Reader's Workshop, one of the "must-dos" for my students is to write a Reading Response letter to me about a book they are currently reading.  I think it's SO important for students to reflect on their reading, to be able to talk about their reading, and to summarize their reading.  I'd like to share with you how I set up my students' Reading Response Letters...