School can often be challenging enough, but, ESL students are generally studying at school in a non-native language, so they often face more challenges. However, there are several comprehension and study strategies that teachers can use to help ESL students in the classroom. When effective strategies, such as direct vocabulary instruction, graphic organizers and follow-up activities are incorporated into their study habits it helps ESL students to internalize and reinforce what they are learning.
Precise vocabulary instruction is extremely important for comprehension for ESL students. Teachers should scan the text being presented and identify words that may pose potential problems and teach this specific vocabulary before reading assignments. Memorization of these new words can be improved by using pictures and examples. The students are then encouraged to restate their understanding in their own words by creating a graphic description of the word or term. Vocabulary instruction helps ESL students learn the meanings of new words/terms, allowing them to eventually comprehend the emotional association and the pairing of common words.
Reading and Memorization
ESL students often struggle with memorizing their assigned readings. One of the best strategies for memorization of reading materials is with the use of study guides. Dealing with memorizing confusing passages can often be confusing for students, however, study guides that reinforce the primary passages can be re-read in context that present the meaning in method that allows the student analyze the characterization in chunks of text that are smaller and easier to follow.
Visual illustrations are extremely beneficial for helping ESL students with comprehension. In addition to pictures relating to the words/terms being learned, graphic organizers, especially those that include visual study guides, can help students make the connection between the key ideas. For example, memorization study guides allow the student to identify what they already know, terms they want to know and what they have already learned. Memorizations with study guides basically allow the student to visually organize old and new information in a ways that are not reliant on text, making it easier to group what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning.
It is extremely important to incorporate follow-up activities into their studying. Follow-up activities will provide an opportunity for the ESL student to express their new knowledge. Follow-up activities may include participating in class discussions, answering comprehension questions and writing their response to assigned text. These activities will allow the teacher to assess their students’ progress as well as allow the student an opportunity to assess their own progress.
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