Reading Resources for ELL Students

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Reading can be a challenging subject for English Language Learners (ELLs), but with appropriate resources, an ELL teacher can help make English reading both fun and interesting.

ELLs and Reading

Reading is an essential English language skill, but it can sometimes seem either daunting or boring to English Language Learners (ELLs), especially if their exposure to reading is confined to academic texts and English as a Second Language (ESL) materials. In order to avoid apathy in the classroom, it's important to expose your students to a wide variety of reading resources of varying difficulty levels and on diverse subjects of personal interest.

Many students are either unlikely to seek out these materials on their own or don't know where to look, so it's important that you, as the teacher, provide both the resources and the guidance on how to use them efficiently and effectively. You may want to incorporate some of these resources into your lesson plans while encouraging students to use others for more personalized study outside of class.

Reading Resources

The reading resources you choose to use with your students should be appropriate for language level and content. One way to determine this is to begin by asking students what, if any, English content they read for pleasure. Don't be surprised if no one responds. Many ELLs simply don't have the time or motivation for recreational English reading. If this is the case, it's best to start with some of the most common reading materials available.

Paper Newspapers and Magazines

Although not as ubiquitous as online outlets, paper newspapers and magazines have several advantages over online news sources. For one, paper can be highlighted and annotated much easier than a web page. Also, it's more convenient to secure enough copies of a paper resource to review in class than to ensure that all students have Internet access to the same site at the same time.

For a classroom reading activity, the articles, news stories, and even advertisements in newspapers and magazines can be browsed by and discussed amongst students as a way to increase and encourage communication.

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