Children reap many benefits from listening to carefully chosen, thoughtfully prepared read alouds. For English Language Learners in particular, read alouds offer an engaging, context-embedded opportunity to teach features of academic language in English. Academic language is language that is necessary to succeed in school, but might not be easily learned in informal settings. So although a child learning English might be very proficient at speaking and comprehending the English language on the playground, she might struggle to understand the language used during a science lesson in the classroom.
Teaching academic language through read alouds means considering why, what, how, and when to teach features of the English language. The chart below maps the process of identifying linguistic demand and developing academic language objectives to teach word-level, sentence-level, and discourse-level structures. You may notice that this structure parallels the WIDA standards for teaching English Language Learners.
Strategies for teaching vocabulary:
Reading Aloud Strategies for English Language Learners a training video by Project TALCA (BC community only)