Friday, April 3, 2020

Our Reading Program for ESL Students

Our SPECIAL READING PROGRAM was designed to meet the needs of students, especially those with special needs and ESL students. We have been using this program for several years and it works for almost all of our students.

We start teaching children as young as two years old. At that age, we make them feel that learning is fun because we give them more time to play. But we also make sure that they are learning the basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics.

In my experience as a long-time teacher, children no matter how slow can easily grasp the reading lesson if it is taught the proper way. Of course, there is no right or wrong way to teach reading because each mentor has her  own style of teaching but it always starts from the very basic which is teaching the sound first to the child. Once the child has perfected the sound of each letter, there’s no doubt that the child will learn how to read words.

There are two ways of teaching reading:

The first is to teach the sound. In this method of teaching reading, you are going to teach the sound of each letter to the child. Once the child knows the sound of every letter, reading words becomes easier.

Why is sound important? Unlike English speaking children who are already well versed with the English letter sounds, non-English speaking children have a different situation because they do not know the sound of each letter. This makes it difficult for them.

The second method is sight word reading. You are not going to teach the child to read by sounding off the words. As the name implies, it is sight reading so the child will read and memorize the words in order to be able to read each word he seas.

The difference lies in the sounding off and memorizing the words to read.

Here again, and I must repeat. My experience tells me that it is best to teach the child the sound of the letters of the alphabet first before teaching sight reading.

But here is a better way to teach reading. You can do both. You can teach the sound of the letters and also let the child read the beginner reading books.

This is applicable to sight words that cannot be sounded off letter by letter. And if you are using this method to teach reading to a child, it would be more difficult for the child to learn how to read. It would be impossible for a child to memorize each word that he sees around.

This is why sounds are very important.

In the sight-reading method, you can do it by reading first and letting the child follow after you. Remember too that repetition always works with young children. Keep it consistent and make the reading program a daily practice so that the child can cope.

In the first method, you can use flash cards to make learning more fun and effective. Keep the children alive and active by letting them recite in chorus. This activity is fun for children. Even those who are slower than the others will finally learn to read when you let all of them read every day in chorus.

Once the child has learned the sound of each letter in the alphabet, you can proceed to the next level, which is reading syllables. It is important also to let the child know how to sound off the letter and combine them to make a syllable.

Slowly, you can add one letter to the syllable to for the three letter words which we call CVC words or (consonant-vowel-consonant words) like bat, cat, bed, pig, fox, rug, etc.

Teaching reading to starters is tough. It takes time and patience and you have to do it step by step.
This is an interesting part of the teaching and learning process. We noticed that when a child has learned to connect letters to make a word and then is able to read the word, the eagerness sets in. And that’s the time when the child will start learning to read properly.

Children love discovering things and being able to read makes them excited to learn more.

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