- Take weekly trips to the school library
Let students choose their own books. Encourage students to read their library books whenever they've finished an assignment early, or if you set aside free reading time in class.
- Read books out loud to your class
If you choose good books and read with enthusiasm, students will look forward to this cozy routine. Reading from a captivating story for 10-15 minutes after lunch or recess will model reading fluency as well as foster a positive association with books. (It's also a good way to settle the class down!)
- Learn about your favorite children's authors and illustrators
See Reading Rockets' booklists and in-depth interviews with Tomie dePaola, Joanna Cole, Chris Van Allsburg, and many more. Authors of particular interest for English language learners (ELLs) might be George Ancona, Pat Mora, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Laurence Yep.
Here are a few suggestions for making reading more fun and accessible for your ELL students in particular:
Introduce students to books with familiar topics
Introduce parents to the public library
- Coordinate with a branch librarian beforehand
Find out what parents will need to bring in order to get a library card. (They should not be required to show proof of citizenship). Make sure a librarian (preferably bilingual) will be there to give parents a tour, answer their questions, and sign them up for a library card. If you need a Spanish-English interpreter, a well-connected bilingual parent might be invaluable for translating and recruiting other parents.
- Invite parents ahead of time in their native language
Emphasize that libraries are open to everyone offering books, music, and videos to borrow for free. Clearly list what parents need to bring in order to get a library card. Include a map of all local branch libraries, with your meeting time and place highlighted. Answer any questions that parents may have.
- Visit the library page
You can read this page in English, and then print it out in Spanish to give to parents.
- Suggest weekly trips to the library
Encourage parents to make library visits a regular part of their routine. Let them know that this is a wonderful way to support their children's education.
Encourage parents to read with their children (in any language!)
During your trip to the library, or any other time, you can show the parents of your ELL students (or print the pages from) Colorín Colorado. Particular sections of interest might be For Families, and Books and Authors.
Many Spanish-speaking parents hesitate to read with their children because they fear it will interfere with their children's English. Reassure parents that reading in Spanish will actually help their children gain important literacy skills that they can then transfer to reading in English.