Posted by Maya Atchan on December 12th, 2018
Every student entering the classroom is unique. Whether it be in the way they best receive and understand new information and concepts, whether they are more visual learners, retain more information from practice, or need more one-on-one support; it’s essential to identify how to best help the student succeed. For ELL students, the task of learning English can be a challenge, no matter what their primary language is. This is when the teacher needs to find ways to best bridge the gaps and allow students to use their primary language to assist them in learning this new language.
Focusing on Spanish reading sets to help students who natively speak Spanish is a key way into helping transition their learning. This means while they are learning English in many other ways, such as conversation, vocabulary, and visuals, giving them an opportunity to read in Spanish and then apply their knowledge to questions and assessments that focus on English will be beneficial to the student gaining confidence.
All of this type of targeted learning, that builds on students’ strengths, is differentiated learning. This is where educators adapt their lessons to the individual needs of each student. In this case, the Spanish speaking student will be given new ways to reach their goals of learning English.
Using Spanish reading sets can also gauge an understanding of both a students’ readiness and interest in learning. When it comes to ELL students, and in particular adult learners, the challenges that face each student varies depending on why they are now learning the language, and habits and opinions on their education their past experiences may have formed. By creating a base study through watching them working through reading sets in their primary language, the teacher can best analyze what this student needs most.
Differentiating the lessons for ELL students is key to helping each individual student find their path to success. For students whose primary language is Spanish, focusing on Spanish reading sets will help build their confidence and draw connections and understandings to better enhance their learning of English.