When it comes to learning English, English Language Learners (ELLs) go through a variety of stages or periods. One of the stages that most ELLs go through is a silent period. During this silent period ELLs typically listen and observe more than they speak. Teachers must be aware that this silent period is a time of true learning, as ELLs are working hard to listen, comprehend, and retain their new language.
In order to reap the benefits of this period of silence, teachers must create an abundance of learning opportunities in which ELLs can observe and listen to the language being spoken around them. Teachers should create opportunities for activities, which involve physical movement, gestures, and experiences. Additionally, teachers should create interactions that involve the use of short phrases or single words.
Additionally, teachers must realize and take into consideration that ELLs not be inclined to readily answer questions or participate in the classroom, as it takes them a little longer to process what they are hearing. As the silent period progresses, ELLs should be learning a greater amount of English skills. This is a good time to introduce bilingual books to reinforce ELLs knowledge of their second language by making a connection with their first language. By reading bilingual books to ELLs their vocabulary increases and their comprehension skills become better.
The Latino Literacy Project offers educational opportunities for teachers of ELLs, who are dealing with students going through the silent period, and other stages of language learning. The project offers in person seminars and webinars that go over topics such as language development, reading comprehension, and parental involvement as a means to academic success. For additional information, regarding all of the learning opportunities the project offers to teachers of ELLs, visit their website at http://www.latinoliteracy.com.