Curriculum

How Might Reading Aloud to ELLs Be Helpful?

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 05, 2010 1 min read

For a story just published at edweek.org about teachers reading aloud to middle and high school students, I interviewed Ragina D. Shearer, who reads aloud to her students at Calhoun Middle School in Denton, Texas. Right now, Shearer is a Spanish teacher and reads literature to her students that will help them to learn more about the culture of Spanish-speaking countries.

But Shearer has also taught English-language learners, and she said she found reading aloud helped them with language acquisition. “It helps them develop vocabulary. They get to feel the rhythm of the language,” she told me. Another reason to read aloud is to introduce content to students that they might not choose themselves; hearing the text read aloud helps them to connect with the words and discover new interests, Shearer said.

The on-line version of my story is accompanied by comments from teachers across the country about why they read aloud to adolescents. We didn’t publish any comments, however, from ELL teachers. So if you read aloud to English-language learners, please hit the comment button here and tell us what you read and how you use this approach.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.