Reading for Advanced EAL learners

You will find it useful to read the sections on Spoken English and on Challenges before this because of the crucial relationship between pupils’ spoken language acquisition and their development of reading in English. Secondary school teachers will find these sections useful in addition to the section devoted to Reading at Secondary.

What teachers need to know about reading in a new language:

See section on Beginner EAL learners and reading for the research-related detail on reading development. In addition, for advanced EAL learners learning to read entails:

  • Needing to decode and to understand vocabulary related to the curriculum
  • Needing to infer meaning in more complex texts and to express this orally
  • Relying on reading strategies for comprehension that are more text-related than picture-related

Characteristics of advanced EAL readers:

  • Show understanding when reading in a range of difference text types, fiction and non-fiction
  • Able to draw on a range of strategies beyond picture in order to make meaning: grapho-phonic, syntactic and contextual
  • Understands features of non-fiction texts and how to use them in order to extract meaning
  • Beginning to use inference and deduction in discussion of fiction
  • Beginning to scan ahead as word reading becomes automated

Activities for advanced EAL readers:

  • Explicit introduction to reading different text types for different purposes
  • Explicit introduction to the structures and features of different text types
  • Explicit teaching of grammar and syntax to support access to complex text
  • Activities that pre-teach and develop specific curriculum knowledge prior to reading tests related to the subject
  • Role play in order to access inferred meaning and character development in fiction
  • Continued reading in the first language to maintain love of reading and allow proficiency in first language reading to support development in reading English (August and Shanahan, 2006)

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