Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Reading Strategies for the World Language Classroom- How Teaching Them Can Really Help Your Students

OVER MY MANY YEARS TEACHING SPANISH IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I have been very fortunate to observe literacy classes and lessons in the gen ed classroom, as well as in Title One Reading, and with our Literacy Coach. Needless to say, I have learned SO MUCH from them about teaching literacy, from vocabulary building, to environmental print, to building sight word banks, along with reading strategies and many other aspects. And of course, this is all transferable, sometimes with a bit of tweaking, to the world language classroom because we are teaching literacy, too! One component I love are the Guided Reading Strategies that are taught to many kids in their process to learn to read.

Reading Strategies for World Language Classes Spanish and French Posters

THESE READING STRATEGIES are geared to help kids when they encounter an unfamiliar word as they are reading text...sound familiar in our world language classes? Yup, even novice learners are encountering print, and I find that by 3rd grade, my kids are developmentally ready to start applying these strategies in more earnest in my class. To that end, I created the below set of Reading Strategies Posters and Bookmarks in SPANISH and FRENCH as visual supports for learners. You can download them FREE in my shop by clicking here.

Reading Strategies Posters for French and Spanish

OF COURSE, I AM ALWAYS STRIVING TO STAY IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE rather than translate, so my secondary goal with these is to make them as comprehensible as I can, with the inclusion of illustrations to aid in conveying meaning, so that both the phrases and the images work together to remind students long after the original meaning has been established (perhaps in English). Here are the six that I gleaned from our Literacy Coach that work best in my classes:

*LOOK AT THE ILLUSTRATIONS- this one is pretty obvious, right? Illustrations, by definition, show in pictorial form what the written text is saying...they do a lot of heavy lifting in the comprehension department!

*SKIP THE WORD- the secondary piece of this is 'and come back', but the key component here is not to get hung up on a word you don't know. Keep going and see if you can guess the meaning from the rest of the sentence.

*LOOK FOR FAMILIAR WORDS- This can do double duty in the world language classroom. Firstly, literally look for words you already know, they are your life preserver. Then, look at other words and see if familiar words "appear" if you cover a letter(s) or only look at a part of the word. If you teach a language with lots of cognates, these will "pop" out- a strategy I teach my students as part of how I make words more comprehensible. 

Literacy Strategies in the Foreign Language Class

*PRONOUNCE THE SYLLABLES ONE AT A TIME- I'm sure you've seen kiddos sounding out words- it's amazing how slowing down and saying the word in it's parts can "magically" reveal meaning! I think some kids become deer in the headlights when reading, so a strategy like this can really help.

*ASK YOURSELF "WHAT MAKES SENSE?"- this is a funny one because often in language classes we are talking about absurd, wildly funny, contrary to fact stuff, so asking 'what makes sense?' could be a set-up... however, you also know as a teacher that kids are highly random and often blurt out things without thinking- and this is what this strategy is really trying to get at- think before guessing. If I show you a picture of a dog eating cake, does it make sense that he is thinking of dirty socks? Probably not......

*USE YOUR RESOURCES- I provide my students with lots of ways to figure out things on their own, from visual supports on my walls, to our mini books in their folders, picture dictionaries and more. Before they ask me to be their personal interpreter/translator, my prompt is 'Use your resources, that's what they're there for.' #fosterindependence 

I hope these are of help in your classroom- please let me know what you think and how you support reading in your classes!

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