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Instructing Students Have Literacy Problems

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The paper will be a detailed lesson plan customised to guide in selecting the most suitable materials and content for a class of mixed nationality group of twelve new adult immigrants. The students have very little knowledge in English despite the fact that they live in the U.S which is English speaking country. (CEFR Level A1). The lesson is designed to teach effective reading skills to help the learners approach reading English in the very same way that they would have done in their native languages.


Lesson Objective

The primary objective of the lesson is to build vocabulary knowledge through reading an authentic reading passage from a recent newspaper. Creating and posting learning objectives for the lesson is a great way to start off things.[1] Like in this case, the second language acquisition process for the students will require the opportunity for the learners to be exposed to relevant reading contents, practice with the materials provided as well as be assessed on the developing language skills. By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to read easily, fluently and with a good understanding of the text.

Vocabularies to be taught

The text in itself is an effective teaching material that can be used to enhance communication as well as comprehension skills. The headline is captivated and also gives an immediate preview of the contents of the article. The sentence structures in the article is also an effective tool that can be used to weigh the understanding level of the learner since the sentences are transitional. El Captain Granite Monolith in California’s Yosemite is amongst the words expected to cause pronunciation challenges hence there are plans to have the key terms pre-taught in class. Other terms like collapsed, trial, spokesman, rescue team, notify, couple, rock slide and airlifted are expected to be encoded quickly. Learners will first read the text independently and then later on as a class while analyzing the meaning of each sentence.      


Teaching activities 

Although the leaners, in this case, are adults, the approach basically should be the same when it comes to teaching vocabulary and reading skills to younger students. With very little mastery of the English language, it is important to expose the learners with new vocabulary words as much as possible before asking them to use the learned vocabulary in an activity. In relation, for this class, prior selection of words in support of the reader’s understanding of the article was made and pre-taught in class through the use of role-playing. Role playing is particularly essential in this context since it helps the leaners relate to the storyline in a customized context hence making them feel more comfortable while in the process still learning. The role playing session is also productive since it encourages participation among all students an inclusive of the passive one’s, promotes the retention rates and adds dynamism to the classroom making it one of the best teaching strategies. The best thing is that the learners seem to be very interactive during lessons that employ role playing hence helps in fostering and embracing cultural diversity. The technique is also very beneficial since the class is only comprised of twelve students hence all of them can take part in two sessions of role playing.

The use of Drop Boxes

One strategy that has worked very well for immigrant students is the use of multiple communication platforms that provides them with the platform to practice using new words learned in class. Subsequently, proficient communication skills which result in vocabulary enhancement for the learners in this case will be achieved through allocating each leaner a drop box. The drop boxes act as platforms through which the leaners complement each other and share their week experiences. Technically, this strategy helps sharpen the reading and comprehension skills of each leaner while considering respective personalities. The leaners are also encouraged to use words learned in class orally or in the writing activities. Drop boxes have worked out well for the better part of the class since it is easily accessible and gives room for the learners to freely express themselves. The use of drop boxes has also helped me as a teacher in helping the learners understand diversity and why it should be celebrated.

The use of fliers

The article was issued amongst the learners in the form of fliers, and each leaner had an individual flier.[2] After completion of the reading task, each student is expected to circle familiar words and underline words that they felt needed elaboration. The results obtained are to be used to analyze the areas that need to be retaught. The primary skill being tested here is pronunciation skills. The use of fliers has also been very useful and effective in the class since it makes to easier to handle question and answer sections. Like in this case, there is a Q and A whiteboard in the classroom. Each week around 6 learners submit a question for the board, the selection is based on what they had previously recorded on their fliers. Normally, it is an open question based on the themes that had been previously discussed in class. During the week, the other six leaners are to review the questions and respond to one of them just before class ends. The answers are to be posted under the relevant question in their respective fliers but presented to the entire class. The use of fliers is an interactive strategy that keeps most of my students in an active rather than a passive mode. In terms of learner interest and integration, the strategy has worked out well with the learners.   



Skimming is an essential tool in the teaching process since it aids in previewing the text for the leaner. Skimming is also very productive if it used hand in hand with responsive cultural text that enables the learners to make sense of what exactly is in the reading material hence making it easier for the learners to comprehend. Technically, this makes it easier to teach all the skills and strategies that are being taught through an understanding of the characters irrespective of the age or grade of the leaner hence giving them the confidence as they walk in into the tasks.[3] It is also important to consider the learner's literacy in their native languages before considering the material to subject to learners as well as the skimming strategy to be used. Understanding the main idea of a text is technically important before the learners begin to read closely. Simply put, a better understanding of the topic prepares the student to read faster and with better understanding. The themes used also should be associated with the vocabulary that the learners are expected to comprehend. Theme based texts make the process of learning more interesting and productive. In this case, for the class, the skimming activity involved coping the text and using fliers to get the leaners to identify the main ideas in the text and weighing how much the leaners already learned from the pre-teaching process.

Leaner activities

  • Filling response cards

Actually, the use of leaflets in class is one of the best ways to get back immediate feedback during class.

  • Role playing

Role playing was used during the pre-teaching lesson and hence will be used to recap the previous class at the beginning of the lesson.

  • Answering questions based on personal reflections
  • Repetition of key vocabularies
  • Chalkboard writing
  • Small group discussions
  • Classroom discussions
  • Answering and asking questions

Also, to determine whether the lesson has been productive or needs reconsideration, ask the learners to come up to the whiteboard and answer the questions noted down on the whiteboard. Subsequently, this strategy is to test whether the time spent on rereading the text for a more detailed understanding was productive. Another strategy through which this can be obtained is the use of question and answer technique to cover a broad area within a short time.   

The use of fliers as response tools

After successfully reading and analyzing the test, the leaners should be able to describe in their understanding the content of the texts. Subsequently, this strategy aims at checking on the learner’s sentence structure ability.[4] The learners will be administered by leaflets in which they are expected to write a summary of the article.


The use of drop boxes

Following the interactive reading lesson, the leaners are expected to use their drop boxes for a different task this week. Each student will use the article to analyze his or her experiences in hiking and how exactly this experience was different from the one that they had read about. Each student was to submit his or her experience as a five minutes reading article in the next class. Technically, the focus, in this case, is on language development as well as creativity.

The use of teamwork

Once the students are through with reading the text as well as reviewing it as a class, they are to divide themselves in groups of six. Each group is allocated five minutes to recall as many facts as they can in relation to article. The group that recalls the most points carry the day and are allocated bonus points which are rewarded at the end of the semester. Technically, this strategy fosters teamwork and enhances integration in a class embedded on diversity.

Review learned content

At the end of the lesson, it is important to review the vocabulary items taught as well as grammar points and writing structures.[5] End the class with thanking the students for their cooperation and issuing an assignment related to the taught content.



Ankrum, Julie W., Maria T. Genest, and Elizabeth G. Belcastro. "The power of verbal scaffolding:“Showing” beginning readers how to use reading strategies." Early Childhood Education Journal42, no. 1 (2014): 39-47. 

Arends, Richard. Learning to teach. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2014.

Coady, Maria R., Candace Harper, and Ester J. De Jong. "Aiming for equity: Preparing mainstream teachers for inclusion or inclusive classrooms?." TESOL Quarterly 50, no. 2 (2016): 340-368.

Fisher, Douglas, and Nancy Frey. "Contingency teaching during close reading." The Reading Teacher 68, no. 4 (2014): 277-286.

Gunning, Thomas G. Creating Literacy Instruction for All Students: Pearson New International Edition. Pearson Higher Ed, 2013.

McCormick, Sandra, and Jerry Zutell. Instructing students who have literacy problems. Pearson Higher Ed, 2014.

Morris, Darrell. "Preventing early reading failure." The Reading Teacher 68, no. 7 (2015): 502-509.

Walpole, Sharon, and Michael C. McKenna. How to plan differentiated reading instruction: Resources for grades K-3. Guilford Publications, 2017.


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