Literacy Development of Second Language Learners Developed by: Laurie Weaver Judith Márquez University of Houston-Clear Lake Activity First, read the paragraph on the following slide to yourself. Next, with a partner discuss the paragraph. Make a list of the five most important words/terms from the paragraph. Share your ideas with the class . Activity Let’s try another paragraph. First, read the paragraph on the following slide to yourself. Next, with a partner discuss the paragraph. Make a list of the five most important words/terms from the paragraph. Share your ideas with the class. La historia de Texas La historia de Texas es la historia de su tierra y sus habitantes. Durante miles de años, la tierra fue la razón por la que vinieron a Texas sus primeros pobladores. Desde la época de los primeros tejanos, las personas han cultivado la tierra. Algunas veces han luchado por ella. From: La historia de Texas, Harcourt Brace, 1997 Strategies Was one of the paragraphs easier to read? If so, which one? Why? What strategies did you use to help you comprehend what you were reading? Strategies For the Spanish paragraph, you might have used some of the following strategies: – Looked for words you knew – Looked for words that resembled English words – Asked a Spanish speaker for help Discussion Discuss with a partner: How do you think your experiences with reading the two paragraphs compare to the experiences of second language learners in US schools? How long? How long does it take to develop grade level reading ability in a second language? – Tell your partner your opinion and explain why. How long? Research indicates that on average the ability to read at grade level in a second language (L2) develops in 4 to 10 years (Thomas & Collier, 1996) Some factors which affect the time needed include: literacy in the first language (L1) and age on arrival to the US – Older students who are reading on grade level in their L1 tend to need less time to become proficient readers in their L2 Challenges to Reading in a Second Language (L2) Imagine yourself trying to read something written in a language in which you are not proficient. For example, if you studied French in high school, think about what the challenges would be for you to read a text in French. Make a list of the challenges. Then compare your list with the information on the next three slides. Challenges to Reading in a Second Language (L2) High number of unknown vocabulary words Use of idiomatic expressions Lack of necessary background information From: Robert Jimenez (2002), Fostering the literacy development of Latino students Challenges to Reading in a Second Language (L2) There are several different types of L2 readers-each poses a challenge – Readers who have L1 literacy but no L2 oral language – Readers who have no L1 literacy and are receiving initial literacy instruction in their L2 – Readers who have L1 literacy but that literacy is very different from English literacy (i.e. Have literacy skills in Japanese but are now learning to read in English) Challenges to Reading in a Second Language (L2) Some L1 knowledge transfers to the L2 but some does not – For example, word order may be different (adjective after the noun instead of before) – Directionality may be different (native language reading may be from right to left instead of left to right) – Phonemes may be different (for example, “e” represents different sounds in Spanish and English – From: Elizabeth Bernhardt, 2003, Challenges to reading research from a multilingual world Literacy Instruction It can be challenging to learn to read in an L2, but it can be done. There are five essential components to reading instruction. What do you think they are? Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Phonemic Awareness Develop students’ phonemic awareness Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate phonemes in spoken language. – Phonemes are the smallest units making up spoken language • English has 41 phonemes • Spanish has 23 phonemes Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Phonemic Awareness Considerations – Some phonemes may not be present in the L1, which may make it difficult for the student to distinguish and pronounce that phoneme – Students need to hear English to develop English phonemic awareness • Songs, rhymes, poetry and word play all help develop phonemic awareness Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Phonics Develop students’ ability to use phonics to decode text – Phonics refers to the relationship between phonemes and graphemes (the letters and spellings that represent the phonemes in written language) – Remember, phonemic awareness and phonics are NOT the same thing Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Phonics Phonemic awareness refers to speech that is heard and spoken. For example, it is the ability to hear a word and state a rhyming word. It is the ability to hear a word and make the word’s initial and ending sounds. Phonics refers to the written symbol that represents the phoneme (sound). Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Phonics Considerations – Students may have learned to read in their L1. Some of the relationships transfer from L1 to L2. Some of the letter/phoneme correspondences may be different between their L1 and L2 – Students may have learned to read in a language that uses symbols that represent morphemes (meaning units) or syllables rather than phonemes Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Phonics Considerations – Second language learners need a lot of experiences with not only hearing language but also seeing what that language looks like in written form Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Vocabulary Develop students’ L2 vocabulary Vocabulary refers to knowledge about the meanings of words Readers cannot understand what they are reading if they do not understand the majority of the words in the text Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Vocabulary Considerations – Vocabulary is developed by: • • • • Conversations with adults Listening to adults reading aloud Reading on one’s own Learning strategies for figuring out the meanings of unknown words Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Fluency Develop students’ reading fluency Fluency is the ability to read words accurately and quickly – Fluent readers recognize words and comprehend them simultaneously Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Fluency Considerations – When possible, it helps second language learners to learn to read in their L1 first – Second language learners need to hear many books read aloud to them to help develop their fluency in their L2 – In addition, reading along with books on tape will help students develop their L2 reading skills Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Fluency Considerations – Extensive independent reading of materials at or just below the reading level will also help second language readers develop fluency in their L2 Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Reading Comprehension Develop students’ reading comprehension strategies Comprehension is an interactive process between the reader and the text Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction: Reading Comprehension Considerations – Native language literacy skills transfer to English. For example, once a student knows how to use context to determine the meaning of a word, that strategy can be used in any language in which he is reading – Students need to learn text previewing skills because this helps comprehension – From: Antunez, Beth (2002), English language learners and the five essential components of reading instruction, www.readingrockets.org/article/341 Activity You have just been hired as the librarian at a school that has a high number of second language learners. Using the information from this slide, develop a five point action plan that describes what the library will do to help develop your school’s students’ second language literacy. You may work with a partner on this activity.