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Karen Ford Early childhood education can play an essential role in preparing young English language learners ELLs for later success in school. Reaching Learn how preschools can recruit ELL families. But how can early childhood educators know if their programs are providing children with the skills they need?
This article will describe some of the methods and strategies that research has proven effective in preparing young ELLs for kindergarten.
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Children need explicit instruction in English vocabulary, as well as opportunities to hear and speak the language throughout the day. Examples of strategies are listed below. Language Provide explicit, systematic instruction in vocabulary. Children require multiple exposures to words in order to develop a rich understanding of their meaning and use.
Teachers should make a point of introducing interesting new words for children to learn into each classroom activity Tabors, Ensure that ELLs have ample opportunities to talk with both adults and peers and provide ongoing feedback and encouragement.
English language learners need lots of opportunities to engage in social interactions with other children, but they also need support from adults as they develop the language skills they need to negotiate those interactions Ballantyne et al.
You can use the following strategies to foster social interaction: Encourage child talk by providing prompts when children need help in expressing themselves e. Use open questions, or questions that can have multiple answers, to help ELLs expand their own utterances e.
Expose ELLs to rich language input. Exposure to rich language, whether through shared book reading or through teacher talk, has been shown to enhance children's oral language development Aukrust, ; National Early Literacy Panel, Structure the classroom space and routine to provide scaffolding for ELLs' language learning.
Arrange the classroom in a way that supports each type of instructional activity that will take place, and then keep changes to the physical environment to a minimum.
Once ELLs learn which activities take place in various parts of the classroom e. Encourage continued L1 language development.
Strong L1 skills support both language and literacy learning in English: Encourage parents to talk and read to their children in their home language as a way of strengthening children's L1 language skills.
Incorporate children's home language in the classroom when possible. Songs and videos can be used effectively for this purpose if teachers do not speak their students' language Gillanders, Literacy Development for Preschool ELLs Research has shown that alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and print awareness are early literacy skills that contribute significantly to later reading achievement National Early Literacy Panel, English language learners can begin to develop these essential foundational skills in preschool, even before they have developed strong English language skills.
Early Literacy Skills Alphabet knowledge Skills appropriate to preschool include recognizing and naming upper and lower case letters and beginning to associate letters with the sounds they make.
Phonological awareness Phonological awareness refers to the ability to manipulate the sounds that make up language, independent of meaning.
In preschool, children benefit from: Literacy Design instruction that focuses on all of the foundational literacy skills. Activities that promote early literacy skills in preschool include: Recognize that many literacy skills can transfer across languages.
A child who has developed early literacy skills in his or her first language will find it easier to develop those same skills in English. Parents who are not proficient in English should be encouraged to help prepare their children for learning to read by using the home language to: This makes L1 text available to parents, and it lets them know that the teacher considers reading to children in the home language to be important.
Accelerate English literacy development by helping ELLs make the connection between what they know in their first language and what they need to know in English. Similarities between English and the child's home language can be used as a foundation for instruction Helman, For example, if L1 has some of the same phonemes as English, start with those phonemes for rhyme or beginning sound activities because those are sounds the child is already familiar with.An overview of second language writing process research.
In B. Kroll (ed.), Second language writing: insights for the writing classroom (pp.
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37–56). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Joy and Power of Reading.
This summary of research and expert opinion highlights the importance of reading volume, access and exposure to print materials and books, reader choice and variety, and reading aloud to developing readers.
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In this little treasure, the world s leading second-language acquisition theorist expounds in brief his hypotheses. 1 Reading, Writing, and Reading-Writing in the Second Language Classroom: A Balanced Curriculum Jeng-yih (Tim) Hsu Department of English National Kaohsiung First . Second language writing: Research insights for the classroom Ed.
by Barbara Kroll (review) Ruth E. Ray Language, Volume 68, Number 1, March , pp. (Review).