This semester, students in READ 6310 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Lily Garcia

As a bilingual teacher most of us teachers constantly ask ourselves what are the most effective reading practices? What are some examples of daily vocabulary practices? Is there an improvement in student test scores when strategies are used daily? Findings suggest that literature can be taught through the use of movement, technology, and graphic organizers amongst others are the most effective strategies used to help bilingual students improve reading comprehension and vocabulary usage. It is very important to incorporate movement; technology and graphic organizers into daily practices in reading and vocabulary instruction with in a bilingual education primary classroom so the students will show improvement in the use of new acquired vocabulary and reading comprehension. My focus will be on English language learners in primary grades within a bilingual education classroom setting.

Investigations on which strategies best help students improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. These terms are used to define a student that is coming from a Spanish speaking background into learning English as a second language. English language learners are a very special population. The bilingual population is currently on the rise in the in United States. In the year 2000, 18% of people spoke a language other than English; by 2030, this is projected to increase to 40% (Bowers 5). Therefore, there needs to be differentiation for the bilingual population.

There is an overflow of strategies to help English language learners increase their English language skills, but this study is to investigate which practices work best with students in a primary grade, pre-kinder through second. Bilingual students reported that they skip the parts they don’t understand in a story and they repeat words over and over again while they read (Padron 687). The future of successfully educating English language learners will require teachers to support language acquisition every day in every classroom and during every lesson (Bowers, 4). There are many strategies used in classrooms to help English language learners improve on their reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. The data suggest that Latina/o students who are successful English readers possess a qualitatively unique fund of strategic reading knowledge (Jimenez 91). Reading and vocabulary go hand in hand. The more a person reads leads to a obtaining a better vocabulary. The National Reading Panel found that teaching students comprehension strategies was important to their growth as readers (Sousa, 2011). Therefore, knowing the importance of strategies, which are indeed the most effective and which strategies are useful to those students in a bilingual classroom setting. Strategies are teaching methods used to add creativity in a lesson and to help students better retain the presented information. Teachers need to be creative; the days of paper/pencil worksheets are over. These strategies will help to present information in new way to help increase reading and vocabulary skills in English language learners.

One strategy that improves reading and vocabulary is the incorporation of technology. Technology provides a visual for students and makes the lesson more concrete as opposed to abstract. Today’s students have a much easier access of technology because it is an ever improving medium. It seems like today’s students literally have the world at their fingertips thanks to modern technology. Students benefit when teachers use multimedia in presenting lessons because the media usage adds context to the language and the lessons (Herrell, 2004).

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