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Tips for Developing the Literacy

Skills of ELLs
Students enter our classrooms with their own identities; a variety of knowledge and
experiences; already having developed ways to listen and speak; and, in some cases, having
learned to read and write in their first languages. All of this plays a part in their literacy
development. As teachers, we need to acknowledge this and find strategies that will best help
our students in the development of their literacy skills.

Strategies for Developing Literacy Skills

1. Reading Skills
- Intensive Reading – reading for complete understanding of a text
- Extensive Reading – quick reading for the main ideas of a text
- Skimming – reading to get the gist of the text
- Scanning – looking for specific details
2. Reading Strategies
- Pre-Reading – skim text for general ideas, read the introduction and conclusion, or
create a semantic map
- During Reading – predict the main idea of each paragraph, use the context help with
the meaning of unknown vocabulary, and draw pictures to demonstrate
- After Reading – retell the text, connect text to own experiences and respond to the text
(eg. reading response logs, journals, drawings, semantic maps, etc)
3. Collaborative Talk
- Provide opportunities for students to orally discuss text and work through their own
thinking/ideas in an inclusive, safe and low risk environment, before completing a written
task. This includes Think-Pair-Shares, class discussions and debates. Provide student with
a guideline for collaborative talk so they have a focus and are held accountable
4. Activate Background Knowledge
5. Think Aloud
- Model what a think aloud looks like – what you are seeing, thinking about, reminded
6. Read Aloud
- Use texts student will have prior knowledge of
- Model what good readers do – think aloud, strategies to decode unknown vocabulary,
revisiting confusing/difficult passages and separating significant information form less
significant information
7. Echo Reading
- Read a sentence and have students repeat it
8. Sustained Silent Reading
- Students read a book of their choice for a specific amount of time
9. Guided Reading
- Groups of students, at the same reading level, read a text at their level with the
guidance of the teacher
10. Anticipation Guides
- Pose questions about an upcoming topic that allow students to respond by choosing if
they agree or disagree (and why) that can be used to share their own view with their peers
during collaborative talk
11. Interact with Text
- Make predictions
- Practice highlighting
- Define important information
- Work with key vocabulary
- Take notes
12. Take-Five-Model
- Get Ready, Read, Re-read, Respond and React

Boyles, N. N. (2012). That’s a Great Answer! Teaching Literature-Response Strategies to
Elementary, ELL, and Struggling Readers. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Professional.

Haley, M. H., & Austin, T. Y. (2014). Content-Based Second Language Teaching and Learning: An
Interactive Approach (2nd edition). Toronto, ON: Pearson.

Robertson, Kristina. “Increasing ELL Student Reading Comprehension with Non-Fiction Text.”
Reading Rockets, WETA Public Broadcasting, 24 Aug. 2017.