General Guidelines for Language Strategies

The language units are intended as explicit instructional guides for students who are developing English language skills or who need reinforcement on a specific English language component.

Students require experiences, concepts and a linguistic foundation before learning to read English. Some students do not acquire the foundations of language implicitly through social-environmental interactions. Learning to read a language while attempting to learn the structure, semantics, vocabulary and semantics of the language simultaneously is a formidable task. Specialized instruction should be given to developing language-based experiences integrated with language-modeling related to those experiences.

Provide instruction using culturally appropriate experiences linked with language, that is, the language used by the child (e.g., ASL, sign and speech, speech) as well as presenting English in print form when possible. Using fingerspelling may make the targeted  English forms and structures more accessible and reduce ambiguity.

The units are written for young students, however, if older students need to develop these concepts, a similar format may be used with age-appropriate materials and activities.

Guidelines for developing concepts, integrating information and English language structures:
  • Students must be engaged in learning activities; it is especially important that elementary students be physically and mentally active participants in the development of a knowledge base.

  • Use culturally appropriate real objects, real-life situations, photographs, and experiences whenever possible.

  • All materials should represent language structures/vocabulary students already know when introducing new concepts.

  • Model speech, sign, and fingerspelling of targeted structures or concepts as often as possible during activities as well as frequently emphasizing the written word(s).

  • When developing concepts and language structures, use prior knowledge, common examples and non-examples.

  • Provide interactive communication with targeted structures using spoken language, printed text, fingerspelling and relate printed English text to ASL/ signed communication.In every lesson discuss and ask questions, build inferencing skills, expand vocabulary and creativity.

Framework for instruction
  • TELL and SHOW the students what they will learn and why

    • Show students the need to acquire specific concepts and language structures as used in books and computer- based text

    • Ask the students to express why they want to learn targeted language skills.

  • Model - Teacher demonstration

    • Show students the language structure or concept and how to use the structure or concept in a variety of settings.

  • Guided Practice / Reinforcement

    • Provide many different activities/experiences in which students interact with teacher and peer support.

    • Ask the students,"What do you think?", "Why?",  "How did you know?",

    • Encourage students to gradually accept more responsibility for completing the tasks.

  • Feedback and Independent Practice

    • Provide activities in which students identify examples of the structures/concepts and produce them.

    • Provide parents with examples of concepts and language acquired in school.