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Language Writing
What did you notice?
Why is L2 Writing So
• ELLs have a limited vocabulary which
  means they repeat the same words and
  phrases and content is restricted to
  known words.
• ELLs may be reluctant to use invented
  spelling and restrict content to words
  they know how to spell.
• When ELLs read their writing aloud
  they have no idea of what sounds right
  and what doesn’t.
     The cognitive demands of focusing on language
      appears to tax short-term memory and
      interfere with students’ ability to conceptualize
      organization and focus on writing conventions.

• What does this mean?
  – Heavy emphasis on prewriting strategies
  – Use oral discussions
  – Language experience approach
  – Graphic organizers
• L1 literacy is a major factor in learning to spell
  English words
• Students whose 1st language is “ideographic”
  (symbols) may have trouble switching to
  “graphophonic” (letter-sound relationship)
• “Risk-taking” is new to some cultures which value
• It is difficult for students to be aware of or hear
  sounds that don’t exist in their language
• Students may use L1 phonetics
  What does this mean?
• Directly teach phonemic awareness
• Directly teach phonics
  – When older students don’t seem to “get
    it”, they may have missed phonemic
    awareness or phonics at a younger grade
Writing Scaffolds for Silent
Receptive to Early Production
 Labeling                ------ cat paw

 Cloze activities       (Cats need fresh____ to drink each day.)

 Sentence starters (Cats and tigers are alike because …)

 Shared writing

 Framed sentences
    Translated Writing
• Occurs when ELLs develop their
  ideas in their native language and
  then try to translate them into
  When students are trying to translate
  their ideas into English the writing
  becomes full of inaccurate verb tenses
  and unintelligible sentences. The
  writing is difficult to understand.
Strategies to Avoid
Translated Writing
    • Teach nonfiction reading/writing
      first because it gives ELLs chunks
      they can use in their writing.
    • Spend more time in the pre-
      writing stage (have students
      develop a topic orally).
    • Use graphic organizers to
      introduce the skill of arranging
      information for writing.
        Writing process
•   Prewriting
•   Writing
•   Revising
•   Editing
•   Publishing
      Prewriting purposes
         (ELL specific)

• Building background
  –   Subject information
  –   Vocabulary
  –   Cultural information
  –   Text structure
      Prewriting purposes
         (all students)

•   Find topics
•   Develop ideas
•   Sequence writing
•   Plan writing
    Oral text to
    Written text

“Writing floats on a sea of
      James Britton
  Prewriting strategies

Moving English Language learners from
        oral to written language
 – Early oral description: “You had to be
   there” context
 – Asking who, what, why, where, how
   questions scaffolds oral context
   embedded text to written text.
     Prewriting scaffolds
•   Story map
•   Picture sequencing
•   Wordless books
•   Patterned books
•   Graphic organizers
         Writing stage
English Language learners need:
• Text models
• Resources for vocabulary
  – Word walls, personal dictionaries
• Resources for structure
  – Graphic organizers, text structures
• Interaction
  – Student to student
  – Student to teacher
        Revision stage
• Revision is not editing!
• English language learners need:
  – Format for what to look for
  – Format for suggestions
  – Support in deciding if writing “sounds
  – Peer revision conferences may not work
         Editing stage
• Editing conferences great place to teach
• Look for next steps not total errors
• Directly teach sentence structure,
• Peer editing needs to be carefully
            Look for:
• English language learners often use
  L1 syntax
  – “house white” instead of white house
  – “dog of my uncle” instead of my uncle’s
• These can be directly addressed in
  editing conferences or mini-lessons
            Look for:
• ELL writing will mirror their oral
  – If they are in present tense orally, they
    are in present tense in writing.
  – Written work sounds like speech written
• Next steps and error corrections
  should follow their language
  development. (see Peregoy pg 257)
            Look for:
• Difficulties in organization
  – ELL’s have so many cognitive demands,
    organization is often poor.
• Directly teach structure of genre
  – Graphic organizers
  – Linguistic features of genre
            Look for:

• Difficulties in sentence structure
  – Directly teach sentence structure
    • Start with framed sentences
    • Parts of a sentence
    • Jumbled sentences
   Language Experience
• Pg 278-281 Peregoy
• Individual students, small group or
  whole class dictates story
• Students read them back
• Use their own words as a reading
Experience-writing cycle
• Experience (small group)
  – Lab, field trip, video, reading
• Key vocabulary (whole class)
  – Student “invented vocabulary” to “scientific”
• Teacher guided reporting (whole class)
  – Asks questions to develop ideas
  – scribes words, ideas phrases used
• Writing (individual)
  – Uses ideas developed during experience
  – Uses vocabulary and supports developed during reporting

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