Learning how to read is a complex issue, especially for English Language Learners (ELLs). Reading fluently involves several components, including reading comprehension. For this reason, many ELLs struggle during the beginning stages of reading, especially if they do not already have literacy skills in their native language. We will highlight several methods and strategies that adhere to the best practices of reading instruction by the National Reading Panel. Read on to learn more about the instructional reading stage for struggling readers and how they can learn to decode new words.
Teaching Vowel Sounds
When teaching struggling readers, it is important that they have a complete understanding of how the English language works and sounds. That is why struggling readers should be taught the five vowels (a, e, i, o, and u), as well as the 12 different vowel sounds they can make. Understanding the vowels and their sounds will help ELLs to sound out words and achieve better pronunciation skills.
Utilize Syllables and Phonemes
Struggling readers will benefit from their teacher’s efforts in utilizing syllables and phonemes. Children who can blend a variety of consonants with vowels understand how to create new syllables. The individual sounds that each pairing makes create phonemes. Understanding syllables and phonemes in their purest form allows children to read and sound out words as they read.
In order to familiarize struggling readers with certain words and their meaning, create labels for items that are in your classroom. This helps ELLs make connections between written words, the thing they represent, and their pronunciation. This will help instill vocabulary and spelling of everyday words.
Struggling readers may feel ashamed or embarrassed when it comes to reading aloud, but do not let their insecurities hinder their learning. Instead, engage ELL students and encourage them to participate in reading aloud in class. Reading aloud helps children with pronunciation, comprehension skills, and helps to increase their vocabularies.
For more tips on teaching struggling readers, visit the Latino Family Literacy Project. Here you will find more information on how to communicate with ELL students and their families, as well as other tips for working with ELLs and increasing their academic success.