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How to Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) Students to Read and Reading Comprehension - Research Paper Example

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How to Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) Students to Read and Reading Comprehension

Effective instruction needs to include the development of thinking skills as well as the teaching of learning strategies that will help them do so. The Role of the Ll in Instruction One way in which to encourage students to have confidence in their abilities is to promote the use of the L1 in the L2 reading program. This enables the learners to access and apply any existing L1 knowledge to the L2. From a socio-linguistic viewpoint, this meets the criteria for the Ll- L2 transfer continuum and constitutes positive rather than being what was referred to in the past as negative interference of the Ll (Chamot, 2004; Chamot, 2005; Shanahan & Beck, 2006). Direct Instruction of Basic Decoding Strategies In addition to incorporating the Ll in the reading tutoring program as a way to facilitate positive transfer and provide student participants with a means for accessing and sharing background knowledge and personal experience, teacher should also place an emphasis on the direct instruction of basic decoding strategies. In discussing the relationship between bottom-up strategies and reading ability, Stanovich (1980) and Grabe (1988) argue that reading is more dependent on the speed with which a reader can recognize words and construct a representation using bottom-up skills than on the ability to use top-down skills to make predictions about the text. Grabe (1988) concurs with Stanovich's (1980) position when he states, "There is a need for a massive receptive vocabulary that is rapidly, accurately, and automatically accessed - a fact that may be the greatest single impediment to fluent reading by ESL students" (p. 63). According to Chall, Jacobs, and Baldwin (1990), there are a number of effective methods for teaching vocabulary, including those methods that emphasize direct instruction as well as those that rely on the acquisition of vocabulary through wide reading of increasingly difficult texts. An example of this latter methodology is the whole language approach, which proposes that basal readers and the teaching of skills be abandoned in favor of real literature and a combination of reading and writing (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990). While Chall, Jacobs and Baldwin (1990) found this strategy to be effective with certain groups of readers, they also noted that there is still a need to focus on basic skills and to make use of a combination of reading textbooks (basal readers), workbooks, and wider reading in order to achieve optimal results in teaching reading. Brisk and Harrington (2000) also address the debate over the merits of skill-based and meaning-based approaches, and they point out that neither approach should be embraced to the exclusion of the other. Rather, "literacy uses need to make sense in order for students to acquire and develop them. In turn, students need skills to make use of literacy" (Brisk & Harrington, 2000, p. viii). Snow et al. (1998) further emphasize that "literacy programs should be designed to provide optimal support for cognitive, language, and social development, within this broad focus; however, ample attention should be paid to skills that are known to predict future reading achievement" (p. 9). Specifically, there is a need for inexperienced readers to concentrate on the connection between letters and ...Show more
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Running Head: ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL) How to Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) Students to Read and Reading Comprehension [Name] [University] How to Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) Students to Read and Reading Comprehension Introduction English as a second language (ESL) learners make up a significant percentage of students in public and private schools across the United States…
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