This competency tests your knowledge of promoting literacy development for ESL students with attention to strategies specific to English language acquisition and factors unique to second language learners.
Let’s talk about some concepts that may pop up on the test.
Common English Phonograms
A phonogram is a letter or combination of letters that produce a certain sound. All consonants have their own sound (sometimes more than one like c, g, s, x, and y) and vowels have a long sound (sounds like the letter name) and a short sound.
Combination phonograms can make consonant sounds. Examples:
sh, th, ch, wh, ph, wr, kn, gn, qu, ck, dge
Combination phonograms may be a combination of consonants and vowels. Examples:
er, ir, or, ur, ar, ed, augh, ough
Combination phonograms can make vowel sounds. Examples:
ai, ay, au, aw, igh, ie, ew, ee, ea, oa, oe, oi, oy, ow, ui
Helping ESL students understand that there are more sounds in the English language than the 26 letters that comprise the alphabet can aid in developing their knowledge of phonograms. Students should be directly taught the phonograms and provided with lots of examples of seeing them in written text.
Phonetically Irregular Words
Phonetically irregular words are words that do not follow the standard rules of sound-letter association. Examples:
two, sure, busy, door, done, answer, people, beautiful
Phonetically irregular words should be introduced in a logical order (starting with words students will see frequently) and reviewed in a cumulative way. Teachers should preview text to be used in instruction for phonetically irregular words and pre-teach them to prepare students for success in recognizing them in context.
High-frequency words are words that appear often in written language. They may or may not follow standard rules of sound-letter association. Examples:
the, was, of, to, see, can, like, not, he, she, we, were, they
Since some of these words can be decoded and some cannot, students should be taught to know them by sight. ESL students should be exposed to them in a variety of ways. High-frequency word walls and lists for students to use as a resource can be provided, as well as the words written on flashcards for automaticity practice. Teachers should make sure to point them out during read alouds and in shared text.
Text structure refers to how information is organized within a text. Examples include:
- cause and effect
- problem and solution
- chronological order
- compare and contrast
- opinion with support
Readers must understand how an author organized a writing piece to comprehend and make meaning of it. Strategies to use to develop ESL students’ comprehension include predicting, summarizing, and discussing. Teachers can think aloud to model metacognition about the author’s purpose of writing the text and how the text structure lent itself to this purpose.
Students’ literacy skills in their first language must be taken into account for designing and implementing literacy instruction in their second language. Students who have literacy deficits in L1 may have more difficulty acquiring literacy skills in L2. Care and attention must be taken to fill in any gaps necessary to move forward in literacy development.