Working with Non-literate Learners Alysan Croydon

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  • Working with Non-literate LearnersAlysan Croydon

  • In this workshop you willExperience a literacy lessonDiscuss tools and strategies effective in teaching non-literate adultsLearn about approaches, tools and activities to teach beginning literacyIdentify strategies to differentiate tasks for non-literate learners

  • Workshop AgendaIntroduction

    Literacy lesson

    A taxonomy of strategies (#1,#2 ,#3 )

    Adapting tasks for non-literate studentsToday, we..

  • Who are we ?Please use your or cards.I teach in a community college settingI teach in a community based settingI teach in a K-12 settingI teach large classes ( 25+ students)I teach classes ( 10-20 students)I teach small groups ( under 10)I teach classes with mixed literate and non-literate studentsI teach a class of students that are all non-literateI teach in an open-entry programI teach refugees and immigrantsI teach monolingual classes

  • Warm up ActivityPlease participate in the grid activity.Steps:Introduce patternRepetition practiceModel of grid organizationStudent modelGroup work: grid completionFollow up activities on data generated in the survey

  • Grid example with no print

  • Hindi LessonPlease participate in the Hindi lesson

  • An approach to teaching non-literate learnersInput/Oral workEnvironmental print, document literacyTeacher made materialStudent generated materialWord attack skillsOnly start to read what a student can already say

  • A Taxonomy of Strategies

  • #1 Needs Assessment

    Find out your students levels, skill proficiencies, needs and interests.

  • Assessment of learning needsLevel and skills diagnostic tools:Writing/ reading sampleAlphabet clozeLetter/number recognition testSelf- selection based on choice of materialsObservation (see questions in your handout)

  • Assessment of learning goalsWhen students cant complete surveys..Use picturesChoose pictures in picture dictionaryA day in the life of. picture survey

  • #2 Begin with Listening and Speaking

    What is is your .address?What is #?

  • Accommodations for non-literate learners Introduce vocab. via TPR or Chalk Talk ( instead of worksheets)Use picture cards and labelsUse picture storiesInformation gap gamesUse visual promptsAvoid distracting print on the board, plan your board work.

  • #2 Start with Real WordsTeacher GeneratedStudent generated

  • Learn sight words using student generated textUse Language Experience ApproachUse CLL transcriptsFocus on list of 100 common wordsThese activities:eliminate comprehension difficultiesuse only known vocabularyensure relevant contentare easy to makeare at the right level

  • #4 Create a System to Record and Recycle new Sight Words

    Target letter chart Sight word wall

  • Recording, reviewing and practicing sight wordsCreate a system to record words for individual learners (envelope,box,ring,list) Create a print-rich environment in the classroom ( posters, labels, materials)Develop systems and routines to practice and review sight words ( games, worksheets, regular review)Use teacher-made and simplified texts to practice reading fluency

  • #5 Teach Word-attack Skills

    As each sound is identified, put it into a word and that word into a sentence that is meaningful. Other ideas: Make lists of words that contain that soundIntroduce rhyming words ( hat, cat, sat)Play games such as bingo with soundsUse picture sortsUse sound discrimination exercises map/mat cap/cat

  • Teach how to decode low(er) frequency wordsTeach phonemic awareness (oral work)Target new sounds in vocabulary that is knownTeach letter/sound correspondenceStart with consonants and checked vowelsCreate word families (at, cat, sat, mat)Teach free vowels ( Tim/time)Teach digraphs, diphthongs, etc

  • Free and checked vowelsWhat does final silent e do in the following words?

    Plate, scene, home, true.

    Why occurrence not occurence?

  • #6 Use a Combination of Top-down and Bottom-up Processing Strategies in Every Lesson

    Top-down processing: Expose students to whole sentences and words in context. Bottom-up processing : Focus attention on letters/sounds and how sounds combine to make words.Pao is a student. He sits next to VanS-S- Student. What other words start with this sound?

  • Top down/bottom up activities

  • Balance top-down and bottom-up lesson focusIn each lesson unit give focus to: Oral work (include phonemic awareness) Modeling reading Target letter(s) and sounds Sight wordsReading strategies (predicting, using text organization clues)Reading fluency ( Students practice reading texts at the right level = 96% of words are known)CarCupclock

  • Phonemic AwarenessPhonemic awareness is the ability to:

    Recognize (been, been, been, bin)Distinguish (red/led, rice/lice)Manipulate sounds am, man, mom

    Includes the ability to isolate, blend and count sounds.

  • To develop readingfluency:Students need access to materialsMake class booksWrite your own textsCollect useful reading materials( e.g. empty medicine and food containers)Organize/file your materials for easy access

  • Provide a variety of ways to practice readingVary how you practice:Teacher ledPeer ledPair readingShadow readingIndependent reading

  • #7 Help students See Patterns in Language and Literacy

    Students need to see words in context.Read this: T e g rl w nt t t wnWhen students learn chunks it helps them predict the next word. Teach language patterns (grammar)Highlight important sound/spelling patterns

  • Teach patternsFor readingPractice on level appropriate materialsTeach commonly occurring words in word groups.Instead of having students read single words, have them see the words in context: Abdi goes to work in the morning.

  • Sound/spelling patternsTeach free/checked vowel systemTeach common letter combinations and patterns ( -ing, ed, -gh, )

    Letter C sound= /k/ or /s/ ?When is it hard? When is it soft?

  • Teach patternsFor syntax:Use visual drillsUse grids and grid follow up activitiesUse rods to show sentence patternsFor soundsRhyming words, word families

  • Grids

  • Grid ActivityIntroduce question form or sentence frameModel the gridStudents complete grids in small groups or on individual handoutsGive additional oral practice of language as necessaryStudents complete written work using grid data as necessary

  • Grid follow up activitiesMatch sight words to grid information

    Dictate sentences about the data. T writesRead a sentence about the grid

    Give sentence frames for completionI like ______, Hawa likes______

  • Grid Follow Up ActivitiesStudents write their own sentences or Q and A using grid data

    One group can write T/F statements about the grid for another group to answer

    Groups answer questions, write additional questions or summarize data

  • #8 Help students apply and notice literacy in the world around them

    Signs and notices Documents

  • Real world ApplicationTake walking toursGive extension assignmentsCopy down/take a picture of signsFind sight words in junk mailPractice filling out forms from mail

  • #9 Teach study skills and spend time organizing paper work

    Color code important handouts you want the students to retrieve quicklyStudents record name and date on each handoutGroup handouts together, make small books all the handouts for Going to the doctorRequire students to have tools such as a binder or folder

  • #10 Be intentional about planning literacy instruction and capitalize on found literacy moments

    Reading is a complex skill to master. Native speakers have to practice and study to become fluent readers and writers. English language learners are not doing it in the language they know best.

  • Create literacy routinesReduce planning time by creating routines that students repeat in every lesson Write date and name Review of sight word cards ( individual) Review box of stuff Read morning message Practice reading a whole text (LEA stories, transcripts, dialogues)Teacher: Model readingFocus on a sound, letter or new sight words for each teaching cycle


  • Found moments

    When students are focusing on oral work, there may be small teachable moments when you can help students notice something about literacy. Use the print surrounding class discussions and oral work in a mindful way.

  • Highlight found momentsHighlight target sounds in wordsFind sight words in written records of oral workApply chunking technique to reading long words and sentencesIn a multi-level class, avoid having the non-literate students copying from the board in large amounts.

  • Multi-level classesWhen literate students work semi-independently on a writing task ( such as a dialogue journal or syntax task in a pocket chart). Use this time to pull together a group to work on literacy. Non-literate students can: create an LEA story work on sight words notice a sound/spelling pattern practice forming or recognizing letters practice alphabetizing

  • Written TasksWritten tasks ordered from easier to more difficult:Match pictures and single words or sentences Give sentence frames or blank-fillsGive complete text out of orderGive text with some mistakes for correctionComplete a cloze textControlled writing activities (Transfer tense, pluralize- only one answer)Reconstruct a text (Dictogloss)Guided writing activities (first/last line given, answer Qs to form paragrap