Academic journal article Language Arts

Supporting English Learners in the Reading Workshop

Academic journal article Language Arts

Supporting English Learners in the Reading Workshop

Article excerpt

Supporting English Learners in the Reading Workshop by Lindsay Moses, Heinemann, 2015, 124 pp., ISBN 978-0-325-05757-6

As the number of English learners entering schools across the nation continues to rise, many educators are struggling to grasp the subtleties of second language acquisition and understand how students' conversational and academic language proficiencies develop. Teachers are searching for not only theoretically sound, research-based instructional strategies to meet English learners' needs, they are also looking for practical, logistical ways to put these ideas into place. In other words, teachers want to know how to make research-based strategies work in their real-life, day-to-day classrooms. In her book, Supporting English Learners in the Reading Workshop, Lindsay Moses offers step-by-step, real-world ideas for implementing units of study during the reading workshop and outlines specific ways to differentiate instruction based on learners' varying stages of language proficiency.

The author reminds educators that one of the first steps in supporting students "who are fortunate enough to speak another language other than English" (p. 2) is to view bilingualism and biliteracy as assets rather than deficits. English learners bring a wide range of resources from their home environments that can help support what they are learning at school. Moses outlines several essential components that are critical to effective instruction, such as building classroom communities in which students feel safe to express ideas in the language of their choice; providing opportunities for learners to choose their own texts, topics, and types of responses; and encouraging students to engage in meaningful communications throughout the school day to help develop both their conversational and academic proficiency.

Moses explains the basic elements of the reading workshop-teacher-guided lessons or mini-lessons, independent reading, small-group instruction, sharing, and conferring-and answers some of the questions most frequently asked by teachers, such as "How do I fit it all in? …

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