Drs. Lado and Hauth have something to be excited about. An article they co-authored titled “Selecting Picture Books for ELL Beginners in Panama: Tellability” is to be published in The Reading Teacher Journal some time in 2022. The Reading Teacher Journal is one of three journals published by the International Literacy Association (its most popular journal) and provides peer-reviewed, research-based best practices to literacy educators who work with children up to age 12. ELL is an acronym for English Language Learners and is typically used for those whose primary language is not English. Tellability, as Dr. Hauth described, is where teachers consider all the elements in a teaching situation to bring about successful instructional conversations, such as pictures and repetitive words in reading so students can share, learn, and understand information.
“The purpose of the journal article,” said Dr. Lado, “is to provide teachers with steps to selecting appropriate books for ELLs.” Perfect books for ELLs are those with content that is familiar, and language that is accessible. In fact, among the vast catalog of picture books, there are few books that contribute to instructional conversation that are both entertaining and informing for ELLs. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is an excellent choice for introducing ELL students to the variety of the sound patterns of English. Who Hops? by Katie Davis introduces ELLs to questions, animal names and actions. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, additionally introduces ELLs to body parts. For older ELLs, Langston Hughes’ poem “My People” is ideal. Dr. Lado was impressed with the ways Marymount University students selected the right books and materials for successful lessons during their practicum in Panama. The Panamanian teachers were so excited about what they learned from the collaborative experience and in 2020, because of COVID-19, they continued to collaborate via video. Both professors will go again in the spring of 2022 and bring the next set of students along with more picture books and materials for teaching ELLs. Think about signing up for this exciting global practicum. For more information, contact either of the professors or click on this link to the Center for Global Programs.
Being the linguist that she is, Dr. Lado concluded our interview by saying, “If you are used to teaching reading to a child who is speaking the language, you are not prepared to teach reading to a child who doesn’t speak the language. So we, in Panama, are teaching our Marymount students to teach reading in English along with teaching oral English.”
Written by: Pierre Thomas