Full Presentation: Literacy Instruction for Young EFL Learners

all right so we're in all different time zones but that's okay we're all awake and I think we're all ready to talk about literacy instruction for young EFL learners and many of you if you know my work you know very passionate about teaching English to young learners and I'm really excited to talk about this topic which focuses on literacy instruction and when I travel around the world to many different countries people ask me questions all the time about how to best teach our very young learners how to begin reading and writing in English which is not you know they're students first or native language so we're going to talk about some different ways that you can engage your young learners in reading and writing okay so before we begin I have a little poll here and I'm gonna ask you to choose the one that most appropriately defines you this way we can all see who is here on this webinar and what do you do right so I'm gonna start the poll and you're gonna tell us who you are we go okay so are you a pre primary teacher a primary teacher secondary teacher a university professor perhaps you're a teacher trainer and perhaps you're an English teacher in training and you're studying very hard to learn how to teach English to young learners and maybe there's a few others if you're in that other category you could maybe type in the chat box how you would identify yourself okay so I see that we have more primary teachers than some others mm-hmm I see Delta Cambridge studies language school mostly teenagers omere a yaqoob welcome she has a PhD in applied linguistics we have teacher trainers yes okay so if you can see the poll you will notice that yeah we have quite a range we have people who are pre primary teachers secondary University Professors teacher trainers but it seems like the more view right 17% are primary teachers well whether or not you're a primary teacher or a pre primary teacher I hope that you will find this information that I'm going to share with you about literacy instruction for young EFL learners very interesting and helpful sometimes even if you are not teaching pre priming teachers or pre primary students understanding okay how our young learners learn to read and write can sometimes help you as you start to have these students later on if you understand what types of instruction they are given all right now I'm going to go back to the slides and we can see here Oh share the results okay all right so can you see the results of the poll now you can see that 18 percent of you are primary teachers and then the next highest is teacher trainer okay so you're probably here because you are training teachers of young learners and then we have a range across the board okay so we've got a really diverse group here and like I said I that no matter who you're teaching you will find this information about literacy instruction for young EFL learners interesting and useful so let's first start at the very beginning right and of course we all know that literacy means the ability to read and write and reading and writing is very dynamic process of communication that requires certain skills and strategies for making meaning through interpretation and creation of printed text so the process of learning to read and write as we know it usually begins in one's native language or l1 and this is a process that cannot be acquired naturally like oral language proficiency so we all know right when kids are growing up they just pick up or acquire oral language proficiency but reading writing needs to be learned through formal instruction which usually begins in early childhood so of course when children are learning a second or foreign language such as English learning to read and write is also a dynamic process that requires formal instruction ok but the good news is that one only has to become literate once because these skills in literacy are transferable from the first language to the second language that is you know this understanding of the connection of oral language to print okay so it's been well established that skills used in reading writing in the native language can transfer to another language and serve as a foundation for literacy in a new language the understanding of the relationship between oral language and written language and the strategies for making sense of printed text can be learned in l1 and then applied to literacy in the second or foreign language in fact the comments noted in his work that the better developed the conceptual foundation of children's first language the more likely children are to develop similarly high levels of conceptual abilities in their second language so l1 literacy is certainly an asset for building literacy in English and should be supported very important so of course in second language context where students are likely receiving instruction in school in English okay and might be learning there I want to varying degrees very important of course most of you are in a foreign language context and should be learning of course literacy in both languages simultaneously so one thing that we want to think about though is that for very young learners maybe who are under 7 maybe they're even in preschool so 4 or 5 years old they are still building their literacy skills in their native language right so something that we have to keep in mind is that as our little ones are learning literacy in their first language we are starting English language instruction earlier and earlier then we have to think about ok what are some considerations for literacy instruction when kids are very young age when they're just starting to recognize this connection between oral language and print right and so I have a picture here if you can see which shows some parents who are reading a story to their little girl does this look familiar to many of you do you also read stories to your kids before they go to bed mm-hmm yeah I see people talking about yes reading before bedtime very important mm-hmm so there are all types of ways that we can get our students and our children ready to read at a young age this notion of reading readiness right reading readiness as we call it there are all kinds of skills right that they can acquire through your interaction with them like even the understanding of a book being something that let's say I take a book that you open up right in this way for English okay and that you know you can turn the page to get to the next set of words right and pictures even just this understanding of what a book is right can naturally happen if you are reading to your children at a very young age always keep in mind though that not every student has the same experience and so you may want to make sure that you know whether or not your young learners are being read to being read storybooks at home or being told stories at home because not everybody comes from the same traditions not everybody not all parents have time to always read books to kids every night so you might want to check because that might affect how well students are being able to build their literacy skills in school if they're not having this type of background experience when they come into the classroom okay so the shared book experience starting with parents and continuing with teachers and early childhood it's very important now we're gonna talk about some different aspects of what I'm calling early literacy and you might have heard other words like emerging literacy emergent reading emergent writing early reading okay there's many different names or ways to describe early literacy this is one way you can name it but the whole point is that early literacy means the null skills and dispositions that precede learning to read and write in the primary grades okay so this is talking about young children's grasp of print as a tool for making meaning and as a way to communicate right both oral and written language so you see this is the stage where children you know might be looking at a book right and they they started to understand the skills and the knowledge of what a book is and they may not be able to actually decode or read the words but they might be because they heard you tell the story retelling the story based on the pictures that they recognize okay so the this is what we know as early literacy you may not think they're reading okay but in fact these are the early stages of literacy okay so they're listening to stories being read Aloud's right they know how to orient their bodies and their minds right to these sort of technicalities of book and prints okay even as I said when adults say here help me hold the book and turn the pages you're teaching them the conventions of reading okay so this is the early start of it okay and so we want to make sure they're early reading and writing learning is embedded in a larger developing system of oral communication and early literacy is an emerging set of relationships between reading and writing and so it would be very important for us to go over these terms okay are you familiar with these terms phonological awareness phonemic awareness and phonics are you familiar with these terms I see yes yes yes all right so I actually have a poll okay and I sees people saying I teach phonics all the time some people are saying can you explain I actually have a poll before we get into the terms I want you to just to see if you know in detail what these terms mean so true or false phonological awareness and phonemic awareness by the same thing true or false okay I'm gonna give you a poll okay and I want you to choose true or false he all right all right slow it down I see about almost 50% of you have answered all right get your answers in I'm gonna close the poll I'm gonna close the voting in five four three two I'm ending the voting and now I'm gonna share the results and as you can see most of you have said false and of course maybe it's not too tricky because what would I have to explain if they were just the exact same thing right but of course this probably means that you're very aware of the differences between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness okay so of course it's false they're not the same thing and phonological awareness it's actually a broader term that includes phonemic awareness case a phonological awareness is a broader term okay phonological awareness is talking about you know being able to identify and manipulate larger parts of spoken language so we're talking about like rhyming right understanding the word the entity of the word syllables and even the literation understanding that you know you can recognize when words start with the same letter and of course let's – this like for phonological awareness here k so phonological awareness is the ability to recognize that words are made up of a variety of sound units and the term encompasses a number of sound related skills necessary for a person to develop as a reader and as a child develops phonological awareness she will not only come to understand the words are made up of small sound units write phonemes right that's this mon unit but also learns that words can be segmented into larger sound chunks right so those are known as syllables those chunks and each syllable will begin with the sound which we call onset and that ends with another sound which is the rhyme RI m e right right this rhyme here okay so basically phonological awareness this understanding of these sounds and it provides the basis for phonics instruction right and phonics is that understanding that the sound and print letters are connected so this is the first step towards what we call reading okay so you're probably very familiar with that okay so phonological awareness is going to include word awareness right also rhyming that words rhyme okay so like Cat in the Hat and understanding like the onset and rhyme right you can recognize that certain words start with the same letter K or maybe end with the same sounds so and phonemic awareness is of course one aspect of phonological awareness okay and that means that you're aware of the smallest units of sound in a word you can segment them blend them manipulate the units so the example I give you here is that you can hear three sounds in the word bat right but to okay so you can recognize there's these three sounds and they make up the word bat so you can obviously see how this is the first sort of set of building blocks to be able to read because you are understanding the sounds of the language and in this case the sounds of English alrighty so here are some examples of course that are really great ok I see it's very interesting I see somebody's who eat ran says that phonological awareness is a key skill that is under practiced in Japan mm-hmm also that different languages have different sounds right so this first ability to recognize the sounds of English or the sounds of the foreign language is very important otherwise you're not going to be able to then attach those sounds to the printed letters okay so of course that's why you know books like dr. Seuss have been so popular in terms of building early literacy is because when they're read to kids they start to hear the rhythm of the language and also there's lots of rhymes right so would you eat them in a box would you eat them with a fox case of it there's many opportunities for teachers to be able to point out the sounds right but in a natural and fun way with a fun book okay so this is actually I happen to turn to this page and you know as you keep going on right I can read it to you not in a box not with a fox not in a house not with a mouse I would not eat them here or there I would not eat them anywhere I would not eat green eggs and ham I do not like them sam-i-am okay so as you see there's the rhythm there's rhyming words and this is a great way to be able to get you know you're young EFL learners to be able to become familiar with the sounds of the language and also it's so much fun with the rhythm as well another book that's great are you familiar with Chicka Boom Boom this familiar with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom you can see here this this particular copies to belong to my nephew Benjamin shin right here yes and so what I love about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom first of all you know youth students are starting to learn the letters of the alphabet and I see people are saying they're kindergarten students love it right Chicka Chicka Boom Boom yes this book is great I'll just read the first couple pages right so as you can see here what's wonderful is it's fun it's introducing the letters in a very fun and colorful way and also there's like a repeated verse so it makes it kind of like a song or a chant right so it starts like this you see a B and C right eighth told B and be told C I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree the next page we said D to e FG I'll beat you to the top of the coconut tree alright so we go through all the letters so students are learning many things right they're starting to learn the letters right maybe they're not reading these words but you're reading you're reading aloud to them and they're able to start to become familiar with the letters D e f g alright so these are the types of activities that can really help write for students to begin to hear the language and to get that phonological and phonemic awareness now of course songs children's songs are great for being able to build that phonemic awareness alright and so why don't you Oh someone says what is the book name Chicka Chicka Boom Boom yes Chicka Chicka Boom Boom alright so we can give you the names of all of these later as well if you forgot so songs are great for building phonemic awareness students are then engaging in the songs they love them they give teachers an opportunity to be able to you know point out the sounds why don't we sing this together are you ready to sing Old MacDonald had a farm with me all right now sing it loud so I can hear you ready Old MacDonald had a farm eieio and on that farm he had some cows eieio with a moo moo here and a moo moo there here a moo there a moo everywhere a moo moo Old MacDonald had a farm oh great tell the truth did you sing that out loud maybe you're in an office or at home and someone's looking at you a little strangely that's okay because what we're trying to do now is to demonstrate how songs can help build phonemic awareness and also teach right the sounds of that sort of long vowel sounds e-i-e-i-o which are also the names of the letters okay and then it's easy to point out certain sounds right with a MooMoo hmm right mmm and you can point out how those sounds start right and think about mm-hmm think about the sounds of English the sounds what other words have mmm moo moo macdonald good okay so songs are a wonderful way they're fun they're engaging they get kids to be able to use the language and start to become familiar with the sounds of English alright here's a fun game that you can play it's like the hot potato game you know that game hot potato okay so you pretend like you have a potato that's hot right you have to pass it pass it to the next person pass it to the next person okay so in this case in this game children will sit on the floor and then your to provide them a bag so I have a bag here okay and the bag can have get your cards or can have objects right different ones obviously those will be the vocabulary words you are learning or have learned okay and then you begin passing the back around okay and then you'll play some music right so here I've got a song okay so you pass it then I get it and I pass it and it goes around the circle and you pass the bag and then you pass it again and then when the music stops when it stops and I have the bag and I get to reach in okay and see what's in it oh I got a pig okay so then the child says and says the name of the picture or object in this case it's a pig and then says the beginning sound of the word right so you could say pig okay or maybe there is a card in here oh I do have a card in here too and it's a duck so I would say I would identify the right English word doc and then say the beginning sound duh duh okay so you see how it's just a really quick game it's fun kids love to pass it when the music plays and then you just give them additional practice to show that they understand that phony right that they can recognize that in the words all right great so these are just some fun games that teachers often like to play and also stories that they like to read that really helps build phonemic awareness of course what we're trying to get to then is being able to understand the relationship between the letters of the written language and the sounds of the spoken language so once you've established these sounds then you're going to start to attach the letters and so phonics instruction right it's focusing on that one-to-one correspondence between the letters and the sounds okay and so that's where we are so hopefully it's very clear what phonological awareness is phonemic awareness and then phonics okay and so as you can see it's very important in these early stages that we are teaching our preschool children okay who are in that early literacy stage to understand okay what reading and writing can do just what is it right we want them to start naming and writing alphabet letters they've got to hear Rhymes and sounds and words building that phonological awareness they start to you know start to write simple words a lot of teachers start with student's own names right because they're very familiar with the sound of their own name and then we try to attach that okay to the letters of the new language and of course we also should be giving them plenty of chances to listen to the language in a story for meaning okay because what we're going to start to get to is the importance of meaning okay not just understanding these you know small bits of language and putting them into words okay so we'll talk about that okay I just have you know another song for you which is great right when we're teaching kids letters and the sounds okay and so why don't we sing it together and you know how the song goes right is that you take out the letter and clap and then say the rest okay let's sing that's right Kristina let's sing okay there are you ready I don't know I didn't hear you singing alright singing okay there was a farmer had a dog and bingo was his name-o B I NGO B I NGO B I NGO and bingo was his name-o there was a farmer had a dog and bingo was his name-o hi Angie ing ing yo and bingo was his name one more time there was a farmer had a dog and bingo was his name-o NGO NGO NGO and bingo was his name-o all right so it's fun and then you get to the end where you're like right because all of the letters of bingos name are now have disappeared okay so this is such a fun and simple way to start to get kids to recognize how to spell things right they're just starting to learn the letters okay and then when you take one out it's really fun for them to remember the rhythm of the song and the next letters but what you're really doing is in a very sort of indirect or implicit way teaching them you know how to how this start to spell okay so again this sort of emerging your early literacy skills can be taught through song and that's how they originated anyway right okay so what we're really talking about here now with these types of activities is actually what we call these dispositions of early literacy instruction right we're actually trying to cultivate you know readers in our preschool children cake so we're trying to make it fun and active we're trying to cultivate their willingness to listen to stories their desire to be read to their curiosity about words and letters exploration of print forms playfulness with words and enjoyment of songs poems Rhymes jingles books and even dramatic play so it's these dispositions that are going to help you to actually build good and engaged readers okay so that's why we got we have to make this type of instruction right fun for kids all right so I have another poll okay because now we're getting into another aspect so now we've gone through these early stages of literacy and that I want to talk about about learning l1 and l2 so true or false it is detrimental to children to learn to read in their native language and a foreign language at the same time okay so it is detrimental to children to learn to read in their native language and the foreign language at the same time let me get the poll out so you can put in your vote okay here we go okay twenty percent of you have voted it's amazing there are 182 of us here all right so I'm gonna close the voting get your vote in there I'm gonna close it in five four three two one voting now okay and so here are the results and so the majority of you said false okay and I see that some of you are saying Alejandro says I learned both at the same time 56 years ago and why not right Oh case of course of course it is false right and children can transfer literacy skills successfully between the two languages okay we already established that having literacy in l1 is an asset right for learning literacy in a second or foreign language hey but even though there's no level of l2 or proficiency specified for success in literacy instruction there is support for LT literacy instruction for very young learners who have not yet become literate in l1 or the native language so there's some studies that show at very young children learning literacy in two different languages their home language and a second language could transfer literacy skills successfully between the two languages so the transfer of literacy skills is bi-directional it can go from l1 to l2 and their l2 to l1 and the language of initial literacy does not necessarily need to be the students l1 okay so some say that actually you wouldn't necessarily have to begin literacy in the l1 okay so that's a very interesting point of view what we definitely can take from the research that's been done is that okay these literacy skills are bi-directional so it's very important to remember that's not detrimental sometimes parents of your students worry when they're very young that they haven't learned to read and write in their native language and are worried about literacy instruction in English interfering with that but you can tell them that they have no cause to worry but that they should be you know basically learning those literacy skills in both languages which is the ideal situation all right now so these also have shown that integrating reading and writing has benefits for young learners including assisting in oral language development that's why we're always talking about skills integration because they can help each other alright so if we're making the case for EFL literacy instruction okay for sure literacy instruction should be an integral part of an EFL program for young learners and integrating literacy instruction can actually assist in oral language development and we also need to make sure that our literacy instruction is meaning focused and balanced right what do I mean by balanced what do I mean by balance okay so it was for annex actually still ongoing I was gonna say for many years there has been it's an ongoing debate about the benefits phonics instruction versus whole language okay and so it's been going on I think for decades and educators some have very strong points of view about one being more effective than the other and of course the phonics approach right that focuses on bottom-up processing skills right so if you will phonics right that's bottom-up right you're starting with a sound symbol relationship okay and you are you know teaching that in order to decode written language and that starts as we said with phonemic awareness which helps children discriminate sounds in English and then moves on to understand that relationship between you know sound and the letter but of course whole language is more top-down okay I'll go back to this slide it's top-down and so that's focus on sort of the the meaning of the text first rather than decoding from letter to word to meaning okay so that's what I mean by top-down approach okay it's starting from children's knowledge of the world and experience with language and tax and build strategies for making meaning through that text okay so and of course I just I'm curious in your context I would like to know which is emphasized more in your EFL literacy program okay which is more alright so let's just do this Oh real quick okay because I'm just curious what you are focusing on okay and I'm think that you know we might see kind of a balance of boats but if you had to choose one which one's more emphasized alright so I'm going to this is very interesting I'm going to and the voting get your vote in there in five four three two one okay and so as you can see the results okay so there are more people focused on whole language versus phonics okay's I'm gonna stop sharing there that's interesting so it seems like there's somewhat of an balance there maybe you use both but maybe your emphasize whole language or phonics more okay but the whole idea is that what we really want to do is make sure we have a balanced literacy approach right because both aspects right the taking a bottom-up approach and the top-down approach are very important okay and a lot of times when I look at programs they're very much focused on you know the phonics or these bottom-up skills to decode the language and not necessarily enough with the whole language right or the top-down strategies from making meaning from text okay so I have here some helpful building blocks and I don't have that much time left so I'm going to be kind of going through them rather quickly okay but I did want to say that the first one that I'm going to point out is what su definitely you know a part of EFL Jung and instruction which is explicit instruction and phonics that is one part of a balanced literacy approach it is very important right students need bottom-up skills to decode and spell words especially English has 26 letters representing 44 sounds with more than 500 ways to spell them can you imagine hey English is not so easy to learn so phonics instruction it also differ depending on the writing system and your literacy practices right so if you actually you know our Chinese speaker or Arabic speaker right you use a completely different writing system so it really is dependent on the native language okay so I don't get into telling people exactly how to give phonics instruction because sometimes that depends on your native language and where you come from okay I do want to say that I'll start with the top-down approach okay because I do see this bottom-up approach a lot and one thing you absolutely have to do for young learners is to immerse them in print and literature okay so you want to make sure that they're surrounded by print in their environment there's print on the walls and the environment and also that you're making a variety of texts available right like pick books okay and all different types of talks okay so if you're able to create okay in your classroom print on the walls and having you know reading centers where students can sit and choose books and read very important so you want to immerse students in print and literature mmm another thing that you want to make sure you're doing is to utilize and build students background knowledge so one is utilizing background knowledge the other is to build their background knowledge to understand text because they're very young it may not be exposed to a lot in the world so you want to tap into their prior experience you might be connecting to contents right like science or social studies making those cross curricular connections and also building their cultural knowledge to read stories across cultures okay so you know you might start with like familiar books right such as like the three pigs or like Goldilocks and the three bears right these are very familiar and then you might also be connecting to content areas right so they're learning about different animals so you might want to beacon acting them to the different animals and reading them stories that are related to the animals that they're learning about okay and also building cultural information as well okay so when you're learning about things like okay maybe you're doing a unit on toys and you're gonna read a story about toys you might also want to build their content knowledge about toys that come from other cultures this is actually a big book that comes from our world and you know we present in here in this big book Oh facts about dolls toys in other countries so you can see here from Russia okay and from India okay and from Central America so we want to build their content knowledge cross curricular knowledge as well as culture through reading all right so next we want to make sure we're modeling various reading and writing strategies okay so we want to make sure that students are able to recognize text structure and are previewing the text and examining the surrounding pictures and predicting what's happening next right we want them to also be able to write for a particular audience and purpose and pay attention to that so of course you know when you are reading stories you want them to always remember and you start them out with previewing the Texian what do you see here a frog what color is the frog mm-hmm is this frog big or little okay then you can see the title is a big lesson for a little frog all right so previewing it you can even take them through the pictures in the text without reading it and at first just preview the pictures and say what animals do you see in here and students can try to guess what's gonna happen next all right so we want to model these various strategies all the time okay now moving on another very important point building vocabulary and automaticity of high-frequency words okay something that research tells us research by pollination tells us that readers need to know at least 95 to 98% of the words in a text to gain comprehension independently that is virtually all the words okay and so it's very different now that is to gain comprehension of text independently that is why you as a teacher will be doing things like shared reading and helping students gain comprehension of text but when you want to encourage them to read independently you need to prepare them for it and also provide them with books right so the books that I have in my book series are world all of the books are actually connected with a unit in the book series in our world and so therefore that vocabulary words use the majority of the words in the storybook are from the unit right in the student book and so what we're trying to do is provide a context that's fun and interesting for students to be able to gain comprehension of text and then when we do the shared reading we're helping them to build reading strategies to make meaning from the text right and then hopefully to be able to read it independently later now you may know this but the 100 most frequently used words in the English language actually represent 50% of all written text that's all okay and most of the books right that have been written for children especially in our series for example use these frequently used words okay so one way that you can help your students read better is to build that automatic recognition of the words okay so for example you know they have these lists like the fry site words okay these are the first most frequently used hundred words if students can recognize them automatically righteous with flashcards then they're going to be able to recognize so much of the text that's in the books that you give them all right so keeping all this in mind of course when you are trying to build a balanced literacy program you always have to come back to looking at your young learners right and our young learners they're active learners and thinkers there are social learners and so you have to make sure that they are actively involved in the learning process with literacy okay and when we know that they need scaffolding from you right we just talked about that right that the teacher needs to be able to assist students through shared reading right by helping to make the input comprehensible in order to help them to become independent readers so we're nearing the end of our time together but I did want to point out and you guys are gonna be getting a reading that talks all about these different ways to approach literacy instruction your young learners

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