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Reading Comprehension Strategies for English Language Learners
Comprehension is the goal of reading, but it can be the most difficult skill to master, especially for English language learners (ELLs). ELLs often have problems mastering science, math, or social studies concepts, for example, because they cannot comprehend the textbooks for these subjects.
ELLs at all levels of English proficiency and literacy development will benefit from improved comprehension skills, which allow them to
There are a number of ways to build ELLs' comprehension skills. Often, standard strategies that teachers use in mainstream classrooms are a good starting point—they just need to be tweaked with ELLs' language and academic needs in mind. This article focuses on strategies that are part of three main approaches: building background knowledge, teaching vocabulary explicitly, and checking comprehension frequently.
1. Build background knowledge.
2. Teach vocabulary explicitly.
3. Check comprehension frequently.
It may be challenging to improve ELLs' comprehension skills, but it is well worth the extra effort to put them on the path to becoming successful readers.
Lydia Breiseth is manager of Colorín Colorado, a free Web-based, bilingual service that provides information for educators and families of English language learners. Based at WETA, a Washington, D.C.-based public broadcasting station, the service is funded by the American Federation of Teachers and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs.
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