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Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop

Supporting the English Language Learner Put It Into Practice | Supporting the English Language Learner

Choose Activities

In this section, you will apply what you have learned to your own teaching. The four activities are designed to assist you in developing resources for supporting English Language Learners in your classroom. Choose one or more from the list below to practice in your classroom.

Activity 1.
Designing a Lesson

Watch the workshop participants develop grade-specific lesson plans centered around multicultural literature.

Activity 2.
Develop a Lesson Plan

Design a lesson plan to support English Languages Learners using the principles explored in this session.

Activity 3.
Catalog Classroom Literature

Compile titles from your classroom literature to support English Language Learners.

Activity 4.
Create a Handbook

Collect literary resources for each workshop session in a Handbook for Effective Literacy Practices.

Designing a Lesson

In this activity, you will watch workshop participants in grade-level groups design a lesson plan that makes a text accessible to English Language Learners.

Dr. Gort gives each group a multicultural literature book that features different ethnic groups and languages in addition to English. Once the lessons are completed, the workshop participants share them with the whole group. Watch the video segment and answer the questions that follow.

As you watch this segment, note the instructional practices used to motivate and build understanding before, during, and after reading experiences. Use the video image to locate where to begin viewing.

Video Segment – Lesson Plan Design

Find this segment approximately 40 minutes and 50 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for about 12 1/2 minutes.


After watching the segment, consider these questions:

  • How do the lessons for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade reflect the principles presented in the lecture and in the readings?
  • How are the lessons for each grade similar? How are they different?
  • What did the teachers have to consider when planning the lessons?
  • How did they make the books accessible to English Language Learners?
  • How could the lessons be used with English Language Learners of varying literacy abilities?
  • What might you add or change to the instructional practices in these lessons?

Develop a Lesson Plan

In this activity, you will design a lesson using a multicultural book that represents the culture of one or more of your English Language Learners.

Two Phases of Effective Literacy Planning
Planning Phase factors:

  • The Students
  • The Reading Selection
  • The Purpose(s) of the Reading

Implementation Phase factors:

  • Prereading Activities
  • During Reading Activities
  • Postreading Activities

Graves, M. F., and J. Fitzgerald. Scaffolding Reading Experiences for Multilingual Classrooms.

  1. Print the Lesson Plan Template (PDF) as an outline for your lesson plan.
  2. Review Scaffolding Reading Experiences by Graves and Fitzgerald. Refer to the chart on page 102 for specific examples of prereading, during reading, and postreading activities.
  3. Teachers can use existing teaching strategies to support English Language Learners. Identify a strategy you might use with English Language Learners. How would it support the learner? What enhancements would be required to address their specific needs?
  4. Structure your lesson around a multicultural book. Consider your students, the difficulty of the text, and the purpose for teaching the book. Include instruction for the three reading activities.

When planning for your English Language Learners, consider their:

  • reading proficiency in their first language
  • reading proficiency in English
  • proficiency in listening, speaking, and writing in English
  • background knowledge and experiences with the text and topic (What do they need to know?)

Multicultural Literature
Multicultural literature is “literature that represents any distinct cultural group through accurate portrayal and rich detail.”
Criteria for Selecting Multicultural Children’s Literature

  • Cultural Accuracy (historical and present culture)
  • Rich in Cultural Details (to enhance understanding)
  • Authentic Dialogue and Relationships
  • In-depth Treatment of Cultural Issues
  • Inclusions of Members of a “Minority” Group for a Purpose

Yokota, J. “Issues in Selecting Multicultural Children’s Literature.” In Opitz, M., ed. Literacy Instruction for Culturally Linguistically Diverse Students. Newark, Del.: International Reading Association, 1998.

When selecting a text, consider:

  • books that represent the culture(s) of your students authentically
  • themes that support the culture
  • supporting features such as pictures, labels, repeated word patterns, and phrases
  • clear and simple story structure
  • appropriate reading level
  • inclusion of more than one language

In determining the purpose, consider:

  • what you want students to know and do
  • how you want students to respond
  • how you will group students for reading and response

Assignment: Submit your lesson plan

Catalog Classroom Literature

In this activity, you will review the literature in your classroom to support English Language Learners.

Determine which books support beginning reading. With each book:

  1. Identify the type of literature (e.g. predictable books, matched print and illustration books, multicultural books, multilingual books, folk takes, poetry, and non-fiction).
  2. Identify the book’s reading format (e.g. whole-class reading, guided reading groups, read-aloud, paired reading, and individual/self-selected reading).
  3. Decide your purpose for teaching the book (e.g. thematic unit of study, extending background knowledge, and developing word knowledge).
  4. Evaluate how the book might support your English Language Learners and the instruction needed to do so.
  5. Record and compile the information.

You may also want to review bibliographies of multicultural literature or other book lists to add to your classroom library. Start with the session’s Related Resources.

Create a Handbook

In this ongoing activity, you will collect literacy resources in a Handbook for Effective Literacy Practices to use in your classroom.


Do this activity with your colleagues to create the most comprehensive collection of resources and instructional plans.

Today, you will create a section on how you support English Language Learners in their literacy development. Include resources you already use, and plan to use in the future. Place them in the section for Supporting the English Language Learner. You may want to include:

  • the lesson plan you developed in Activity #2, adding additional lesson plans as you teach them
  • the catalog of literature you developed in Activity #3
  • a list of quality, multicultural literature that supports your curriculum themes and the cultures of your students
  • a list of topics to stimulate oral language using the Language Experience approach

Assignment:  Submit a copy of your completed Handbook at the end of the workshop series.

Wrap Up: Reflect on Your Learning

In this section, you will review and revise your notes on supporting English Language Learners.

Review the notes you have taken during this session. Return to the Supporting the English Language Learner Chart you completed at the beginning of the session. Add any new ideas and insights about the strengths and needs of English Language Learners. Then add any new ideas for instructional challenges and opportunities. In a paragraph, respond to the following questions:

  • Which ideas presented in this session will enhance your teaching of English Language Learners?
  • What changes will you make in your literacy instruction?
  • How will they support all students’ learning and promote a classroom community that respects and values all cultures?

Assignment: Submit your written reflection.

Series Directory

Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2003.
  • ISBN: 1-57680-681-2