Log in

Pre-Reading Strategies to support ELLs, Matariki Resources,

Hi everyone

Some Pre-Reading Strategies

Further to my post Tips for the pre-reading stage of teaching reading post last week today I am sharing some strategies that a teacher might use to support ELLs during the pre-reading stage of a lesson. These are by no means an exhaustive list so please feel free to share the strategies that you find helpful.  

During pre-reading the teacher is trying to do a number of things: introducing the text, setting learning, content and language goals, building connections, setting a purpose for reading, identifying supports and challenges within the text, developing student motivation for reading, modelling, pre-teaching some vocabulary, identifying text structure features, setting a reading task, etc.  Selecting a strategy to use will be partly determined by the needs of your students and what you are focusing on as a teacher. 

As Pauline Gibbons summarises  in Scaffolding Language, scaffolding learning, p.85; “The purpose of these activities is to prepare for linguistic, cultural, and conceptual difficulties and to activate prior knowledge. “

1.       ESOL Online reading strategies –  this page has a number of different strategies, these include anticipatory reading guides, before and after vocabulary grids, concept stars, finding out tables, graphic organisers, KWL charts, new ides/novel ideas, predicting, Guess and check, preview summaries, reading overview grids, SQ4R, structured overviews.

2.       Picture walks- In pairs, students look at the pictures in the text and describe them in order to predict what they think will be the story’s content. It also provides an opportunity to use pre-taught vocabulary orally. Or Sequencing illustrations – photocopy key illustrations from the book and give students time in pairs to say what they think the story will be about.

3.       Wh- questions- who, what, where, when why and how to discuss before reading predictions.

4.       Digital Jumpstarts (Rance-Roney 2010)- front loading is where teachers pre-teach a small group of students the concepts, vocabulary, and processes prior to beginning the lesson for a whole class.  In digital jumpstarts – teachers allow students who need the extra time and support to work on a computer to play and replay a reading preview, practice new vocabulary words, and so forth. This can also be done as homework.

5.       Word Clouds – (Dalton and Grisham) use wordle to create a word cloud on part of the text. These enable students to see key words, create headings, and provide prompts for discussion. Wordle also provides support in several different languages which can be helpful for ELLs.

6.       Sequencing illustrations – give students a set if illustrations from the text and ask them to put them in a possible sequence. 

7.       Reader questions – give students the title of the story or an illustration and encourage them to pose questions they would like answered.

8.       Information grids- for an information text use an information grid and ask students to fill in what they already know about a topic before reading. This is best done in pairs or groups. 

9.       Predicting from words – put a word or phrase from the text on the board and ask students to say what they think it will be about, or what words they associate with the topic. Develop a semantic web based on the students’ suggestions. Add a few words yourself that you know occur in the text, and discuss their meaning. (Gibbons page 85).

10.   Predicting from title or first sentence – students predict what type of text it is and what it will be about. (Gibbons, page 85)

11.   Reader questions – Give students the title of the book or a key illustration and encourage them to pose questions they would like answered. (Gibbons, page 86)

12.   Storytelling – tell the story simply before reading it using the illustrations in the story or do simple line drawings of your own on the board as you are narrating it. Or tell the story in the Mother tongue. (Gibbons, page 86)

 For further reading see chapters 4 and 5 on Effective Literacy Practice in years 1-4, and in years 5 to 8.  



In 2015, Matariki, the Māori New Year, will start on 18 June. There are many celebrations happening around New Zealand to celebrate this festival. See event finderto find out what is on in your region.  

Also see the New Zealand Curriculum page http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-resources/National-events-and-the-NZC/Matariki . This is loaded with great resources including school Journal articles and you Tube clips.

English Language Partners has a worksheet on Matariki which may be useful to use with older ELLs. You can download it from this pagehttp://www.englishlanguage.org.nz/topic-worksheets .

Other Useful Matariki links:

·         Ministry of Culture and Heritage  http://www.mch.govt.nz/nz-identity-heritage/matariki

·         http://www.korero.maori.nz/news/matariki/factsandfigures Korero Maori

·         http://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/matariki-for-kids-2/ Christchurch City Library and their teacher resourcehttp://christchurchcitylibraries.com/education/mataurangamaori/matarikiteacherresourcepack.pdf

·         http://www.wcl.govt.nz/kids/downloads.html Wellington City Libraries Online Storytimes for Kids, includes Te Huihui o Matariki / The Seven Stars of Matariki

·        https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/Education/OnlineResources/Matariki/Pages/Overview.aspx Te Papa Matariki educational resources  

·         http://matarikiwaihi.wikispaces.com/Our+Favourite+Resources+and+Planning  complete with instructions for kite making and rewena bread.


Last week on our community

Thanks Lynn for your feedback on my last post Tips for the pre-reading stage of teaching reading and the suggestions that you made. I agree that the school environment can make a great learning resource as students can all relate to the shared experience and bring their own knowledge to the topic. Lynn also recommended Quick 60 non-fiction series (Sandra Iverson) and Rainbow Reading as useful reading texts for English language learners (ELLs).

·         Rowan asked for writing ideas and topics suitable for stage 1, year 1/2 ELLs.Marnie would love a link to the bird story idea that you shared Rowan.

·         Catriona shared a google presentation full of ideas which she developed in response to her teaching inquiry on how to support and engage reluctant writers. She regularly adds to it.

·         Jan shared some fabulous, very creative ideas based upon real experiences that you can easily create in and around the classroom.  I just loved her “magic man” idea and her suitcase of objects. Thanks Jan for sharing these ideas.

·         Cath asked for a copy of Nan’s child-speak ELLP Matrices which I shared.

·         Can you help Julie? She would like a simple worksheet that explains road safety (preferably in English and Korean)?  

·         I have found some road safety worksheets, songs etc that might be helpful on this link http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/category/topics/road-safety  but you will need to check that the messages are the same as what we use in New Zealand. It looks like they can be translated into some languages. Alsohttp://www.michellehenry.fr/route.htm .

·         I also shared Latest ManyAnswers and High Interest Topics by Robert Baigent.


·         The date for CLESOL 2016 is now confirmed 14-17 July 2016 Venue: University of Waikato.

·         AKTESOL EXPO – Kindly Hosted by AIS, Asquith Road Campus Saturday 20thJune, 2015

·         MANATESOL have a mini symposium on 6th June.

·         WATESOL Expo Saturday, June 13th, 9am -1:15pm , Karori Campus, Victoria. Keynote speaker: Associate Professor Frank Boers. See attached programme.

·         Register now to attend this year’s New Zealand International Education Conference in Hamilton on 20-21 August. It’s a conference set to inspire and challenge you to Accelerate Your Growth of International student http://enz.govt.nz/news/register-now-for-nziec-2015

·         Kiri Turketo from McAuley High School will be presenting "Charting Pacific Waters" at the next Auckland “Light the Fire” meeting . It will be held on WEDNESDAY JUNE 10TH, 4.00pm-5.00pm. The host school is McAuley High School, 26 High St, Otahuhu. You do need to register. See the attachment in the link for details.

I hope you will take one idea you are not already using and try it out over the coming month in your classroom.  Sometimes they don't always work great the first time you use them in class. Students need to learn the strategy and this sometimes needs to be scaffolded and modeled.  We would love to hear how successful they were and what your students found as a result of using the strategy. 


Have a great week