All of our ESL classes are “multilevel”, with some students excelling in literacy, and others in spoken language. Research generally proves that spoken language is more quickly acquired and written English takes much longer. So, with that said, what are some ways to improve reading and writing? What do we need to focus on in our classes? Is it just a matter of more reading? Explicit phonics instruction? Where do you begin with literacy instruction?
To work on reading, multiple experts agree that there are five things to address. They are:
- Phonological awareness-understanding that language can be broken into smaller units.
- Comprehension-the ability to understand text
- Vocabulary-new words to help in reading comprehension
- Fluency-ability to read/speak text
- Phonics-the relationship between sounds and letters
Differentiated Instruction in the Multilevel Classroom
As you well know, not all students are at the same level in any given class. Therefore, we have to do the best we can to differentiate our instruction and meet the needs of our students. The website www.fcrr.org has some wonderful examples of how to do that. It is geared toward elementary school, but the lessons and differentiation are applicable to our adult classes. Follow the prompts on the left side of the page! www.fcrr.org Florida Center for Reading Research is a wealth of information that includes not only assessment tools, but actual instruction and sequencing for reading instruction. There are step-by-step instructions on differentiated instruction.
Here’s how to find it:
- Click on “How to Differentiate Instruction”. http://www.fcrr.org/assessment/ET/diff/diff.html
- Next, select a “grade level”. You will be taken to a sample lesson, presented in step-by-step fashion. You can now customize for your class!