October 21, 1998
READING LESSON PLAN: CREATE A STORY
The students' own stories will be used as the center of instruction in composition, word recognition skills and learning English print. This will build competency in students' vocabulary, word recognition, and sentence structure.
PROFICIENCY LEVEL: Elementary ESL (low) Intermediate
… chart paper
… BINGO cards
… as many teacher aides as possible
… BINGO markers
… flash cards
… Story about a student's first day of school
Ask the students about their first day of school. What was it like? Was it scary? What seemed different to them than home? What was new? Could they understand the language?
This stimulates thinking about the subject matter, tapping into their existent knowledge on the subject.
Read the class a short story (with pictures) about a child and his first day of school in a new part of town. Discuss the story with the class. Have they ever felt similar to the character in the story? Brainstorm and write useful words
on the board.
This familiarizes the students with topic-related vocabulary and provides a model for English pronunciation.
1. Break students into groups of 4 or 5, if you have enough help; otherwise, do this project as a class.
Small groups are better for individualized attention and are less intimidating (and at the same time) more inviting to participation.
2. Students will dictate a story about a student's first day of school, first day in a new city, etc., & the teacher will write it down verbatim.
The teacher immediately transcribes their words onto the board, providing the students a written connection between what they say and what it looks like in print. They build word recognition by connecting meaning with written words.
3. Afterwards, students will read the story aloud as a group or class.
Reading is tailored to the learner's own interests, background knowledge, and language proficiency because they wrote it themselves--it means something to them. It builds on the social and cultural strengths & interests the students bring to school. Plus, the text is age-appropriate. Students are usually able to read their own stories fairly easily because they already know the meaning.
4. Students underline words that are important to them, write them down on flash cards, & put them in a "word bank" in alphabetical order. Teacher then flashes words in front of the class for the students to read aloud.
This provides a reference to words the students use often and helps build sight-word recognition.
5. Play BINGO with the words selected. Students will arrange the words in various ways on their cards. Teacher will either say the word, flash a picture, or give a short definition of the word, and students will look for the
corresponding word in their BINGO card.
This also builds students' sight-word vocabulary, while at the same time connecting meaning with the words. Children need daily opportunities such as these to develop literacy.
6. OPTIONAL: Students may also cut up the stories into sentence strips and then rearrange them again so that they make sense and follow a logical order.
Students practice word and sentence order skills, necessary for creating logical conversation and stories.
Students will create their own short story about a favorite hobby or sport. They can dictate to a parent (or aide if parents are English illiterate). Later, students will read their story in small reading groups. Teacher will comment and provide feedback. (Having students creating their own stories reinforces what they have learned. Practice makes perfect! --Well, almost. Also, evaluating the students' progress and providing feedback is necessary for finding out if your teaching is effective.)