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Intensive Reading Activities for Young Learners
- Intensive Reading Activities for Young Learners
- Bae, YooJin
- Issue Date
- 외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
- 이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
- Candice A. MacDonald
- The Public Elementary schools in Korea have a problem in that they have only 1-2 hours of English class each day and they mainly focus on receptive skills such as reading and listening. In private elementary schools, English is taught more (about 2-3 hours a week), but still most of the students rely on private English institutes to improve their skills. This Portfolio is designed for an Intensive English Reading class for an after school program in elementary private school. The group of students I seek to address are in 3rd and 4th grade in a school I am currently teaching in and their levels are at Developing 3 according to the WIDA rubric. Their educational backgrounds are quite varied and, therefore, their skills in English are at many different levels. There are almost 30 students in each class, and I have chosen this target group of students because they want to improve their reading strategies and see the positive effects of their hard work on their grades. My school gives many tests and exams to assess students’ reading, writing, listening and speaking skills; however, we focus a lot on vocabulary testing which is usually challenging and not very stimulating, which can lead students to feel negatively about learning and progressing English.
In my textbook, I will use Intensive Reading (IR) elements to support my textbook. Paran (2003) clearly indicated that IR needs to focus on pre-, during-, and post- reading with activities that introduce language and activate strategies to improve learning for young learners (YLs). ER alone is “not sufficient for developing reading skills and a more focused approach, including explicit instruction, is also needed” (p.40). Loucky states that vocabulary development activities, intensive classroom reading and extensive free reading activities should be well balanced in second language reading (2006). I will use IR not only to extend students’ vocabulary, but also to activate their receptive skills as well as productive skills with fun activities.
To attend to the mixed levels in my class, my textbook will be organized into a three-level program: low, mid, and high, where levels are gradually increased and fiction and nonfiction mixed genres are used. The mixed level system varies based on the length and vocabulary in the books. The system is designed to expand students’ schemata and promote higher-order thinking skills in school subject areas for ELLs. I will create activities using topic related texts with a variety of levels and matching games with vocabulary and group activities for speaking. I will use vocabulary words to make word search puzzles, ‘Guess the word’ (Hangman), class stories, and activities to search for words they have learned in magazines or in newspapers. According to Doritsas (2009), we can prepare reading groups to do dictations, which include the four skills or set the varied selected activities and questions for content-based responses. While students are completing the activities, teachers can check students’ comprehension using content-based questions or activities. Students will learn the language as a by–product of learning about real-world material (Richards, J. C. & Rodgers, T. S. 1986).
In my textbook, I will incorporate reading activities in which students will create their own characters in plays to help their understanding while having fun. In addition, using visual aids with pictures and charts related to the reading and vocabulary lists will encourage students to learn with pleasure while improving reading comprehension.
With my textbook, students should be able to enjoy reading with IR and learn vocabulary that students select for themselves through intensive activities. According to Bell (1998) learners will enhance their general language competence naturally by increasing their vocabulary. Students should be able to know how to relate the vocabulary they learn to the target reading by connecting words with pictures. I will add vocabulary-related activities with target word cards in my textbook. Students will enjoy learning English while they maintain their language abilities through variety activity. Extended activities involving other productive skills such as speaking and listening will be integrated as well.
Due to the needs of my target group, I believe my textbook will engage my 3rd and 4th grades students with interesting self-selected reading materials. IR helps students to balance their English with Reading and Writing activity. The point is students can relax with scaffolding activity-integrating language through IR activities. I believe my target students will improve all 4 skills through intensive strategies.
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