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Teacher to Teacher: Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students

Karen Spangenberg-Urbschat & Robert Pritchard, Editors
A Book Review by Sarah Nixon-Ponder

The editors launch into this nine-chapter book, published by the International Reading Association in 1994, by stating three purposes for compiling it: to reexamine and integrate the organizing instruction and reinforcing student learning; and to provide tangible examples of practical ways in which teachers can produce and guide instructional practices that are authentic, meaning-centered, and learner-centered. These three purposes form the framework of Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students.

Section One on Issues takes an in-depth look at the concerns that most teachers in the United States will be facing (or in many cases, already are) in the near future. Lara addresses the rapidly rising number of culturally and linguistically diverse students in the American school system and calls for a re-thinking of how teachers have conducted their classrooms in the past. Acceptance of students' home language, ethnicity and culture as a prerequisite for teachers who teach non-mainstream students is examined in Cort‚s' "multiculturation model." The section concludes with a discussion by Cummins on second language acquisition.

Section Two, Organizing for Instruction, examines the most important elements teachers are faced with as they prepare for instruction. Altwerger and Ivener illustrate the connection between ESL students' level of achievement and their level of self-esteem through a whole language perspective. Chamot and O'Malley introduce instructional methods that have been proven to be effective in meeting the needs of ESL students. Allen completes this section on instruction with a review of authentic materials from various categories, as well as a detailed bibliography and criteria for selecting high-quality pieces.

Section Three concentrates on Instructional Practices. Activities and materials that integrate reading and writing are addressed by Farnan, Flood and Lapp. Schifini confronts the issues of vocabulary comprehension and development within expository text, and Garc¡a recommends implementations for authentic assessment.

Though the title of this books suggests that it was written for ESL teachers of schoolchildren, we believe that with very few modifications, its ideas and suggestions are applicable for all teachers. Following are some instructional practices that could be implemented into any ABE, GED or adult ESL classroom with ease.


Taken from Chapter 5, "Instructional Approaches and Teaching Procedures," by Anna Uhl Chamot & J. Michael O'Malley


Taken from Chapter 6, "Selecting Materials for the Reading Instruction of ESL Children," by Virginia Garibaldi Allen


Reading as Preparation for Writing

Writing as Preparation for Reading

Taken from Chapter 7, "Comprehending through Reading and Writing: Six Research-Based Instructional Strategies," by Nancy Farnan, James Flood & Diane Lapp


Taken from Chapter 9, "Assessing the Literacy Development of Second-Language Students: A Focus on Authentic Assessment," by Georgia Earnest Garcia

To order this book, contact the International Reading Association at 1-800-336-READ, ext. 266.
Visa and Mastercard accepted; shipping included on prepaid orders.
IRA book number 395; ISBN 0-87207-395-5.
Cost is $12; for IRA Members - $11 plus shipping/handling.

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