Students need to understand the learning intention and success criteria, you must make sure that it is written in “child speak” so that students can both read it and understand what they are going to be learning.
Language is a crucial element of learning. The language that students have already been exposed to has given them an understanding of their success, or lack of it, in learning. It is important to ensure that all learners feel successful, however small their target. Display key words in the same place each lesson and make sure that students get to pronounce them, repeat them and use them in the correct context.
This practice also applies to key verbs. Explain clearly what they mean and what you expect students to do when you develop a task e.g. “Read and display the temperatures” – “read the temperatures on the thermometer and write them down in the grid in your exercise book”. Give explanatory information that allows the least confident learner in the class to do the work you have set. Take even more care with higher level tasks such as “compare and contrast” or “pick out the key phrases”………the more complex the task, the clearer your explanation must be.
You will have Reading Ages for the vast majority of your students as they are tested on an annual basis (see T drive/Other folders/Intervention); use them to guide your choice of text. Ensure you do not have very long chunks of text – students will become bored/confused/off task. Maybe this could have an example of a low reading age e.g. age 8 and that the text needs to be suitable in length, text size, meaning etc. for your average 8 year old.
When you are reading with students, keep stopping to check understanding. Students concentrate for roughly the same number of minutes as their chronological age, less time if they have additional needs. Repetition and correction of pronunciation are important processes in the development of literacy.
Listening exercises, reading aloud and cloze exercises are all relevant strategies you should be including, where appropriate within your lesson planning.
Some of our students are learning English as an additional language; many of them already speak a number of other languages, so we know they know how to access language. It is important, especially for their literacy development, to include some predictive exercises that prompt them to use either the text, or illustrations or other visual clues to work out what happens next.
Another important strategy is to focus on verb tenses and agreement in order to aid both context and understanding.
Make students aware of the purposes of writing e.g. note-taking, essay-writing, letter writing and teach the conventions that accompany each purpose.
When students are ready to proofread or edit their work, you could have them write CUPS at the top of the page.
C reminds them to check for capital letters
U reminds them to check for understanding
P reminds them to check for punctuation
S reminds them to check for spelling.
Reading for one aspect at a time is very accurate. Crossing out each letter of CUPS as they check their work focuses attention more closely.