• Home
  • LV East Bay for Literacy

Do You Write With Your Students?

The National Writing Project

A teacher is a critically important role model for students. It’s said that a parent is a child’s first, best teacher but parents entrust to us the sacred obligation to carry the flame of learning through the school years.

Teachers sometimes “dispense” information but one of the most important ways learning happens and takes hold is when the role model – teacher or parent – demonstrates the importance of the lesson or task by engaging in it themselves. Tying a shoe, keeping things in their place, reading – or writing.

Donald Graves used to talk about this in his teacher workshops. Showing rather than just telling your students that writing, revising and editing can be hard work – but worth it – is a powerful teaching tool. Getting down in the trenches with your students can be uncomfortable, but showing vulnerability to the kids can pay dividends.

Read More

You Should Not Mispronounce A Student’s Name

Are you aware that if you mispronounce a student’s name, you are negating the student’s identity? Mispronouncing a student’s name may well be leading to resentment and anxiety which may lead to less academic progress.

Pronouncing the name of a student correctly will help build a positive school culture and is only respectful to students and their families.

Over the last decades, we’ve seen a national increase regarding students’ overall graduation rates in the U.S., but the dropout rate for immigrant or foreign-born students remains above the 30% mark,  well over three times the dropout rate for white, U.S.-born students.

See also this important video:

We know that for many English Language Learners (ELL’s), the mispronunciation of their name is all too often the first of many setbacks they are experiencing in the classroom, while they are already very unlikely to work with a curriculum that respects or reflects their specific culture, or meet teachers who are speaking their native language.

Read More

Results of the online collaboration project

I was reminded earlier this week that I hadn’t really said much about my own project in the course of these blog posts.  I think you will probably have gathered I’ve had a lot to reflect on and had an absolutely fabulous time in the Carolinas.

To be honest, it’s probably taken a couple of weeks since I’ve been home for the enormity of what happened to sink in. I was really pleased at how well-received the project was at the school, proud to have become a semi-finalist alongside another great US teachers –  and truly humbled that out of so many wonderful projects it won first runner-up in the collaboration category! WOW!

That means that we are well on track for the collaborative ways of working that were mentioned in my previous post and how impressive are our students with their world-class achievements! Read More

NJ migrant children face new barrier: school

One at a time, Maria Vasquez’s children crossed the treacherous border into the U.S.

They were fleeing violence and poverty in Guatemala and lured to New Jersey with the prospect of getting reunified with their mother in Union County and start a new life.

 

Two of Maria’s children crossed the frontier all by themselves, alone, and as unaccompanied minors.

The children got caught by U.S. Border Patrol officers, who sent them on to New Jersey, where they soon encountered a new barrier: sign up for public school!

Maria Vasquez’ children are two of the more than 5000 unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador that were placed with sponsor families in New Jersey by the federal government since end 2013.

An estimated seventy children are staying in various communities in Monmouth County, but the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement is not reporting counties where under fifty migrant children got resettled, such as Ocean County.

Read More

How Creative Is Your Teaching?

Creative Teaching… Does it frequently involve artwork? Does it involve drama? Does it involve music? Does it involve some practical activity? Or does it involve making choices about a tech tool to use? Problem-solving? Open-ended tasks? Self-directed learning? Collaboration? Peer feedback?

I can be creative – I have spent many hours following a knitting or cross-stitch pattern. I have followed dressmaking patterns. I can follow a piece of music when playing my guitar or singing. But I think that is a different sort of creativity to the creativity I use in class.

Read More

More Seniors Need ESL Skills Improvement

Literacy Volunteers East Bay is planning to provide an ESL (English as a Second Language) course starting early January.

Melanie Decker, Director of the Senior Center, made clear that there is growing demand for this kind of service because the non-native speaking part of the population is increasing, and lack of transportation options make ESL lessons in really needed.

Literacy Volunteers East Bay ‘s membership grows every day, says Decker, and over the last two years, we’ve seen an enormous increase in the number of people who have only limited or no command of English, and as they don’t have adequate (if any) transportation options to attend an ESL class, our community’s seniors may feel even more alone and isolated.

LV East Bay is already offering transportation services for all of its members, so participants of the ESL class (spearheaded by social worker Ann Albano) could avail themselves of this. at. The ESL class also comes with instruction in conversational skills, as they form the basis of any language course.

Read More

How Literacy Volunteers Help

Literacy Volunteers are believing that supported and well-trained volunteers can be highly effective teachers of adults.

Literacy Volunteers provides free, individualized student-focused instruction in basic literacy & English language capabilities.

Literacy Volunteers of East Bay (LVEB) includes some 80 volunteers, 1 administrative director, and Board of Directors of 8 members.

LVEB is serving around 80 adult learners every year through the organization’s group class leaders and well-trained tutors. Most students receive tutoring on an individual basis, but the organization also provide group instruction for local organizations or businesses who have a group of people that need their services.

Tutors are required to complete a training program of 15 hours and they continually are supported by a literacy specialist.

Read More

Helping Non-native Students Write English

I myself am a non-native speaker of the English language, so I know from my own experience that writing in a foreign language is often challenging, and this is particularly true when it concerns academic work.

A considerable portion of the available research reports and study material in our study field is providing numerous tips and suggestions on how we can help undergraduate non-native speakers and writers.

Having said that, graduate students somehow seem to be receiving far less attention regarding this subject in the provided literature. Still, non-native graduate students are facing an even greater number of challenges when it comes to writing their academic pieces, and my personal experiences have also made that very clear to me. Time to do some research.

Read More

When A Reader Lacks Fluency

When a child lacks fluency, he/she reads at a pace that is word-by-word, with little attention to phrasing. He/she may also be reading a book that is too difficult, where his/her attention is on decoding and not on comprehension and fluency.

Interventions:

  • Encourage the child to read a book that is easy. An easy book is one with fewer than 5 errors per 100 words.
  • Explain that reading needs to sound like talking.
  • Encourage repeated readings of easy books.
  • Encourage the reader to read to a younger child.
  • Encourage the child to read without pointing.
  • Provide guided practice with a teacher/parent for 5-10 minutes. Choose a reading passage that is easy and be sure both the adult and child can see it. The adult reads it several times to the child, who is following along. Then read it together once or several times, until the child is reading it with expression. Finally, have the child read it alone. Repeat daily for several months.

The Reader Reads Too Fast:

Read More

Reading Fluency

A Fluent Reader:

  • Has automatic word recognition
  • Is able to figure out unknown quickly using context and word patterns
  • Reads with appropriate phrasing and expression

Don’t be fooled, however. Just because a child is a fluent reader, does not mean that the child is comprehending.

However, a child who struggles with fluency will also have difficulty comprehending.

Ways to Build Fluency:

Read More