This month, we are pleased to focus on reading instruction for ELLs. We've also included recommended resources about the upcoming election and tips for parent-teacher conferences.
The Colorín Colorado Team
As the time for parent-teacher conferences approaches, you and your students' parents may be wondering how to have a conversation if you speak different languages. These articles offer tips for both teachers and parents on overcoming the language barrier in order to hold a productive conference.
- Teachers Tips for ELL Parent-Teacher Conferences
- Parent Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences (also in Spanish)
For additional teacher tips, see this related ASCD Brief, Holding Conferences with Parents of ELLs, written by expert Judie Haynes.
New on Colorín Colorado
These new booklists for adolescents are organized by topic and range from chapter books for upper elementary to young adult literature for high school students. The newest batch focusing on Latino adolescents includes mystery and science fiction, the celebrated quinceañera tradition, high school romance, memoirs, and stories about immigration.
With an election focused on issues like jobs, health care, education and immigration — all deeply important to the lives of ELL students — The New York Times asked its expert, Larry Ferlazzo, to devote a recent installment of "Ideas for ELLs" to Election 2012.
Additional resources related to the election are available from the following websites:
- Our White House: Campaign and Election Kit
- School Library Journal: Best Websites for Teaching the Presidential Election
Product Description: Reading is all about understanding. Juli Kendall and Outey Khuon believe that small group comprehension lessons have a key role to play in advancing ELLs' comprehension of texts. Making Sense outlines fifty-two lessons that teach students how to make connections, ask questions, visualize (make mental images), infer, determine importance, and synthesize. The book's five main sections are geared to the stages of language proficiency, and lessons are divided into "younger" and "older" students, spanning kindergarten through grade 8.
Kendall, J. and Khuon, O. Making Sense: Small-Group Comprehension Lessons for English Language Learners. Portland: Stenhouse. 2005.
In the Classroom
The process of learning to read can be particularly challenging for ELLs, especially if they have little or no formal schooling and they have not learned to read in their native language. In Reading 101 for English Language Learners, Kristina Robertson highlights ELL instructional strategies based on the five components of reading as outlined in "Teaching Children to Read" by the National Reading Panel (2000).
In this new article written for Colorín Colorado, Dr. Karen Ford explains what reading fluency is, how it relates to ELLs' literacy and language development, and how to measure ELLs' fluency accurately.
Colorín Colorado Manager Lydia Breiseth shares ideas for boosting ELLs' comprehension skills, including building background knowledge, teaching vocabulary, and checking comprehension. This article originally appeared in ASCD Express.
Our updated reading and writing section includes ELL instruction strategies organized by grade and topic.
Books & Authors
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
By Samantha Vamos
Illustrated by Rafael López
Start with a farm maiden and a pot, invite some friends to help her, and before you know it, you have arroz con leche — and a rollicking party! Told in the style of "The House That Jack Built," this lively story incorporates new Spanish words into each refrain, which are highlighted by Rafael López's vibrant and entertaining illustrations. Pura Belpré Illustration Honor Book.
- Classroom activity guide
- Meet the Illustrator Video Interview: Rafael López (also available in Spanish)
- National Book Festival 2012: Rafael López shares a step-by-step look at how he created the official poster for this year's festival, held in September in Washington, D.C. (The Washington Post)
The Day of the Dead (El día de los muertos) is a time of both joy and quiet remembrance at the beginning of November as families honor their loved ones who have died. While variations of the Day of the Dead are celebrated in many Latin American countries and around the world (including the United States!), some of the most well-known traditions are those from Mexico, where the celebration originated. The holiday also coincides with the return of the Monarch butterflies following their long migration south.
Each of the books on this list offers a unique interpretation of the holiday that will provide opportunities for students to both learn more and share their own family traditions. The booklist is also available in Spanish.
- TeacherVision Lesson Plan: Day of the Dead Activities
- ArtsEdge: Comparing Halloween and Day of the Dead
- National Geographic Kids: Day of the Dead photos
- PBS Kids: Maya & Miguel Celebrate the Day of the Dead
If you're looking to diversify reading selections for Halloween, take a look at these recommendations from The New York Times!
October Book Giveaway: The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
Enter our raffle for a copy of The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred!
To enter, please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado with "Book giveaway" in the subject by 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2012.
[One entry per family. Winners of any previous Book Giveaways are ineligible to win any other Book Giveaways for a period of one (1) year from the date of the Book Giveaway. See complete contest rules here.]