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Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop

Watch the Video | Supporting the English Language Learner


In this section, you will watch Dr. Gort’s lecture on reading instruction for English Language Learners in grades K-2.

Print Dr. Gort’s English Language Learners Lecture Posters (PDF). Use the posters to take notes on the lecture.

In this video segment, Dr. Gort presents and discusses research-based principles on second-language literacy development. The lecture focuses on: variables that affect learning to read and write in a second language, research on second-language learning, and characteristics of beginning and intermediate second-language learners as they learn to read in English.
An accompanying lecture transcript (PDF) is also available.

Video segment – Dr. Gort’s Lecture

 Find this segment approximately 3 minutes after the beginning of the video. Watch for about 10 minutes.


After watching the lecture, review your notes and consider these questions:

  • What are the important concepts to understand about bilingual students?
  • Dr. Gort emphasizes that English Language Learners comprise a heterogeneous group who come from different countries, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. How does this influence the way you plan and implement instruction in reading and writing?
  • What information do teachers need to know about their English Language Learners to provide successful literacy instruction?
  • How might your literacy instruction differ for beginning and intermediate second-language readers?

Optional Viewing

You may want to watch the workshop participants discuss their challenges and opportunities. Find this segment approximately 13 minutes after the beginning of the video. Watch for about 3 minutes.

Classroom Excerpts

In this section, you will relate Dr. Gort’s lecture and your readings to teaching practices in classroom excerpts.

Now you will observe teachers working with English Language Learners in three classrooms — two kindergartens and one second-grade. You will see teachers providing instructional support to students in a small, guided reading group, a whole-class lesson, and a one-to-one interaction.

Video Segment – ELL Classroom Excerpts

 Find this segment approximately 16 minutes and 5 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for about 14 minutes.

After watching the classroom excerpts, consider these questions:

  • What principles from Dr. Gort’s lecture did you see in these literacy lessons?
  • How did the teachers acknowledge and support the students’ native languages and cultures in these classrooms?
  • What are the benefits of each type of grouping (small, homogeneous group, whole-class, or individual) for the English Language Learners in each of these literacy lessons?
  • What ideas from your readings could support literacy development in these lessons?


In this section, you will watch the workshop participants discuss the classroom excerpts.

Following the classroom excerpts, the workshop participants discuss the lessons. Compare your ideas with theirs.

 Find this segment approximately 30 minutes after the beginning of the video. Watch for about 11 minutes.

After watching the workshop participants’ discussion, consider these questions:

  • How do the ideas generated in the workshop participants’ discussion compare with yours?
  • Several workshop participants discuss how the needs of English Language Learners are similar to those of emergent or beginning readers. Do you agree?
  • How are the needs of English-speaking beginning readers similar to those of English Language Learners? How are they different?
  • Which strategies in the classroom excerpts were useful for all children learning to read? Which strategies or teaching practices were beneficial to the specific needs of English Language Learners?
  • The workshop participants discussed the explicit instruction apparent in the classroom excerpts. Why is explicit instruction critical for English Language Learners?

Series Directory

Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop


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