Second Language Learners

Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Vocabulary is such an important part of everyday life...especially as a precursor to reading for a plethora of reasons.  For one, building oral language and vocabulary as a young child helps beginning readers.  They must use the words they hear orally to  make sense of the words they see in print.  Building background knowledge - schema helps readers understand the text and make connections which is a great way to strengthen their comprehension as well.

This is especially imporant for our second language learners as they are trying to navigate our world and make meaning of things they see and hear.  I spent about 2 days in France when I was 21 and was completely overwhelmed because I knew just 2 phrases in French.  I felt completely helpless and my frustration level was through the roof when I was trying to communicate with others.

This trip led to a week and 1/2 stay in Barcelona, Spain...guess what!?! I immediately felt confident and self reliant because I knew a TON of vocabulary in Spanish and could hold a conversation with some patience on the other end of course. 😂  My point is I was able to ask directions, get confirmation on questions and navigate around the city because I had enough vocabulary in my word bank to assist me through daily challenges that came my way.  

I imagine that's how kiddos feel when they come into our classroom with limited vocabulary and the classroom buzz all around them is going at a break speed pace.  It must feel so overwhelming for them!

Building their vocabulary is one of the fastest ways to get them to become more confident in your class.  Having them engage in conversations, listen, observe, watch interactions is key to their success.  Not only are they trying to understand the vocabulary and language but also social cues and any cultural differences that may pop up.

I have used these vocabulary cards with my students and have even had peers work with kids.  I have found that these vocabulary cards interactions are not just great for my second language learners but for the peer buddies as well.  It develops a sense of understanding, empathy, patience and much more in them.

If you'd like to get a closer look, you can check them out here.  

Second language learner vocabulary cards

This is an easy, low prep way to be sure they are getting some extra needed vocab practice in your classroom without devoting too much of your time as you are managing 20+ kids.

As always,
Happy Teaching,

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