The love of reading
I really think it is important to promote literacy, especially the love of reading. It is so important to encourage extended reading activities for students outside the classroom and talk to students about ways to bring reading into their homes with their friends and families. This is something I am very passionate about.
I was talking to my ESL students the other day about keeping up with learning activities at home while away from class over the winter break. One way to build vocabulary is to get reading. I suggested they drop by the public library to browse the ESL materials. I also chatted with them about what they read in English outside of class, and what writing they did in English on a regular basis.
Students explained they used Facebook a lot; not necessarily in English. They do read posts in English, but seldom comment in English. Of course, YouTube was mentioned as a big activity for learning a whole bunch of new topics. I showed them the useful feature of captions so they can read in their own language, or in English, while watching the video. Many of the students do texting, and again, some do text in English, but not usually. Many of the students identified the use of Instagram to follow news about celebrities and share selfies. I have no idea what that is, so I will need to check it out. Is there something I could do to encourage students to apply and transfer what they have been learning in class to everyday activities. Another activity students identified for learning English was using IPhone apps. This is another area to investigate further. Still another thing students mentioned was that they visit a number of web sites like CBC, BBC to find out more about current news, and also use Google translate tools.
I got them to select some graded readers to bring home with them. While I think that silent reading is important, I really think that reading and writing while speaking the ideas aloud is a great way to deepen the learning. When acquiring a foreign language, vocalizing what you read and write is a crucial task for meaningful learning, as is review and reflection the self-talk we do while learning. So I did a reading circle with my students, and had them read together as a group about some West Coast Reader stories. I was thinking that I would like to facilitate a reading club for developing literacy skills.