Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reading Fluency Webinar by Neil Anderson for ESL Teachers

My colleague Neil Anderson recently presented a webinar hosted by Reading Horizons entitled, "Holding in the Bottom While Sustaining the Top: A Balanced Approach for L2 Reading." This informative webinar is one of the most practical webinars I've ever heard with regards to maintaining a well-balanced, interactive reading curriculum for English Language Learners. He discusses the use of both top-down and bottom-up (phonics) instruction in the L2 reading classroom.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

English Language Learner Strategies

Visit my ESL teaching tips blog post to learn about pronunciation, spelling, grammar, decoding, and listening strategies. Also, come back to my blog soon to see the launch of my new YouTube channel where I will be demonstrating decoding strategies using a tablet and screen captures!

Specific strategies taught elsewhere on my blog can also be accessed here:

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Educational Literacy App for Children (Part 2)



I mentioned in a previous blog post that Reading Horizons developed an app for children called Card Match available in the Apple app store for use on iPads. Since that blog post, the company has now released an additional app for kids called Whack-a-Word, which was recently featured on the History Channel and Ion Networks. You can view the spot here. Other Reading Horizons apps can be found here.



A special shout-out goes to all who are helping to improve literacy efforts around the world!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Adapting Online Apps in the Classroom

With the rise of social media and online apps, an increased interest from educators in how to utilize these online resources in the classroom has surfaced. I have blogged before about using technology in the classroom. Two of these blog posts include Free Online Videos for the ESL and ELL Classrooms and Five Free Technology Tools for ELL/ESL Teachers and Students. I am always interested in learning new ideas about how to integrate and adapt useful technology and online resources in the classroom.

A colleague reached out to me this week and inquired about whether I would be interested in sharing a link to an online article she authored which examines the use of the Vine app in classrooms. This app could be used in a variety of ways, including use for demos and tutorials. Links to tutorials and practical tips are included in the article, which can be found here: http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2013/04/vine-education/.

I have not yet used this app myself, but I am interested in your thoughts. Would you find this resource useful? What other online apps are you adapting in your classroom? Feel free to share your insights!

New Educational Literacy App for Children (Part 1)


Reading Horizons just launched a new educational app available in the Apple App Store called Card Match. This game helps students recognize words by matching a word card with an image card. Card Match is one of the games featured in the Reading Horizons Discovery software that was released last fall. I admit that the game is a little addicting--even for adults. Challenge yourself to complete a level in as little time as possible for three stars (versus the one- or two-star alternative rewards). This app is available at the Apple App Store. Soon to follow is the release of an additional educational app: Whack a Word. Stay tuned!

(See Part 2 of this blog post here. Also, see other Reading Horizons apps here.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

ELL-U Online Discussion: Interactive Reading Strategies for Emergent ELL Readers (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of the online discussion hosted by ELL-U. 



To join the Online Discussion:
1) Watch Part 2 of the webinar below.
2) Post your responses on ELL-U at http://www.ell-u.org/forum/viewthread/279/.
3) Visit ELL-U before May 3 to view others’ feedback and participate in the online discussion.
4) Watch Part 1 of this webinar on www.ESLtrail.com at any time to review.



video



The objectives of the webinar are as follows:

Part 1:
  • Provide examples of bottom-up, top-down, and interactive strategies for teaching L2 reading.
  • Offer rationale for the use of explicit, systematic bottom-up strategies instruction.
Part 2:
  • Discuss the role of students’ phonemic and phonological awareness.
  • Provide practical methodology and approaches to teaching bottom-up strategies in L2 reading.

Self-reflection Questions:


1) Was there at least one strategy you learned in this webinar that you didn’t know before?
2) Which bottom-up  strategies would you like to implement?
3) When would be an appropriate time to implement bottom-up strategies?


Join the Online Discussion  here!

Sources
Aebersold, J. & Field, M. L., (1997). From reader to reading teacher: Issues and strategies for second language classrooms. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Anderson, N. J. (2003). Exploring Skills: Reading.  In D. Nunan (Ed.), Practical English Language Teaching (pp. 67-86).  New York: McGraw-Hill.
Birch, B. M, (2002).  English L2 Reading:  Getting to the Bottom. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Carrell, P.  (1993).  Introduction: Interactive approaches to second language reading.  In P. Carrell, J. Devine, & D. Eskey (Eds.), Interactive approaches to second language reading  (pp. 1-7).  Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Eskey, D. (1993).  Holding in the bottom: An interactive approach to the language problems of second language readers.  In P. Carrell, J. Devine, & D. Eskey (Eds.), Interactive approaches to second language reading (pp. 93-100). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Nunes, T. (1999).  Learning to read: An integrated view from research and practice.  Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

Friday, April 19, 2013

ELL-U Online Discussion: Interactive Reading Strategies for Emergent ELL Readers (Part 1)



Welcome! I am pleased to be moderating the online forum hosted by ELL-U from April 22-May 3. 
To join the Online Discussion:
1) Watch Part 1 of the webinar below.
2) Post your responses on ELL-U at http://www.ell-u.org/forum/viewthread/279/.
3) Visit ELL-U between April 22 and May 3 to view others’ feedback and participate in the online discussion.
4) Watch Part 2 of this webinar on www.ESLtrail.com beginning on April 29. (View Part 2 here.)
video
The objectives of the webinar are as follows:

Part 1:
  • Provide examples of bottom-up, top-down, and interactive strategies for teaching L2 reading.
  • Offer rationale for the use of explicit, systematic bottom-up strategies instruction.
Part 2:

  • Discuss the role of students’ phonemic and phonological awareness.
  • Provide practical methodology and approaches to teaching bottom-up strategies in L2 reading.



Self-reflection Questions:

1) What strategies do you use to teach reading?
2) When you learned how to read, did you learn both bottom-up and top-down skills?
3) When you teach reading, do you rely more on teaching top-down strategies?  If so, why?
4) Are you an interactive reading teacher?

Join the Online Discussion  here!

Sources
Aebersold, J. & Field, M. L., (1997). From reader to reading teacher: Issues and strategies for second language classrooms. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Anderson, N. J. (2003). Exploring Skills: Reading.  In D. Nunan (Ed.), Practical English Language Teaching (pp. 67-86).  New York: McGraw-Hill.
Birch, B. M, (2002).  English L2 Reading:  Getting to the Bottom. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Carrell, P.  (1993).  Introduction: Interactive approaches to second language reading.  In P. Carrell, J. Devine, & D. Eskey (Eds.), Interactive approaches to second language reading  (pp. 1-7).  Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Eskey, D. (1993).  Holding in the bottom: An interactive approach to the language problems of second language readers.  In P. Carrell, J. Devine, & D. Eskey (Eds.), Interactive approaches to second language reading (pp. 93-100). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Nunes, T. (1999).  Learning to read: An integrated view from research and practice.  Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Forum for Adult Emerging ELL Readers


I have written a blog post before about ELL-U, a free online resource for professional development. I am pleased to be moderating a forum hosted by ELL-U later this month. Following is the information provided by ELL-U that has been recently disseminated.


Be sure to stop by the ELL-U community forums to join the online discussion with Heidi from April 22 - May 3, 2013. ELL-U is excited to have Heidi join the community to share her expertise in first- and second-language literacy and reading, language learning strategies, learner characteristics, pronunciation, and computer-assisted language learning. 
  
Heidi is the Curriculum and ESL Director at Reading Horizons where she oversees curriculum development, training, and research. In addition, she is also a current member of the international association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Inc. and has presented her research at the international convention. She also served as President of the Intermountain-TESOL (I-TESOL) affiliate from 2008-2009 and currently serves as Secretary on the I-TESOL Board.

Be sure to check the ELL-U Forums and Discussion page to participate in this special discussion. For additional information, email info@ell-u.org


Free Education Webinars

When I first started working for Reading Horizons six-and-a-half years ago, one of my first assignments was to conduct a webinar. A "webinar?" I asked. I hadn't heard the term "webinar" before. When I discussed this assignment with colleagues at the time, the term "webinar" was unfamiliar to them, as well. I felt like I was breaking new ground.

Since that time, webinars have become a popular and effective way to provide free online professional development. Reading Horizons provides free webinars that can be accessed here. Webinar topics range from Teaching All Students to Read by Dr. Joseph Torgesen, to Developing Fluent Readers by Neil Anderson, to Using Learning Centers to Meet Needs in Multilevel ESL Classrooms by Dr. Robin Lovrien Schwarz. These webinars are just one of the many types of free online resources now available for professional development.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fonts for Dyslexia

I was introduced to some fonts that were designed for dyslexic brains to make reading easier. I have yet to try these fonts with the gentleman I am tutoring who has dyslexia, but I thought I would share these resources in the interim.

The first font is called Dyslexie, and it looks like this:


To learn more about Dyslexie typeface, visit their web page: http://www.studiostudio.nl/lettertype-dyslexie/. This font is not free of charge, but it appears that they have done their research on why their font was designed the way it was.

The second font is called Open Dyslexic, and it is a free and open source typeface. It was created by an individual who has dyslexia. I pulled a sample paragraph displaying the Open Dyslexic font from the "about" page of the website and included it below:

Open Dyslexic is created to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. Letters have heavy weighted bottoms to indicate direction. You are able to quickly figure out which part of the letter is down which aids in recognizing the correct letter, and sometimes helps to keep your brain from rotating them around. Consistently weighted bottoms can also help reinforce the line of text. The unique shapes of each letter can help prevent confusion through flipping and swapping.

(Open Dyslexic font is available for free download at http://dyslexicfonts.com. Thanks to the developer, Abelardo Gonzalez, for offering this free resource!)

If anyone has success with these fonts, or fonts similar to these, feel free to comment!

Free Online Speed Reading Tool

I have blogged before about learning strategies for reading faster and speed reading, as well as optimal silent and oral reading rates--both of which have proven to be popular posts. In that light, I was recently introduced to a free online tool called Spreeder, developed by 7-Speed-Reading. The objective of this tool is to help improve reading speed and comprehension. This tool could be used to help students practice reading at a faster rate, helping them to avoid the sub-vocalization that often occurs in their reading which, in turn, slows reading down.

To use the tool, first, paste the text you'd like to "speed read" into the box.


Then, select from a drop-down menu the settings you'd like to use. Settings include the number of words you would like displayed on the screen at a time, words per minute, background color, etc.


When you click "start," the text will flash across the screen at the rate prescribed in the settings, allowing the reader to read the text at that designated reading rate.