Minnesota and Wisconsin Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
Young adult and adult students with little or no literacy in their first languages are
tackling a double challenge: acquiring English while learning to read for the first time
later in life. There is a considerable lack of research in this area of ESL, but the available
research and professional wisdom can guide our practice. Five general principles help us
create vibrant, successful classrooms for our low-literacy students: keep lessons
contextualized, combine bottom-up and top-down approaches, cater to a variety of
learning preferences, tap into students’ strengths, and nurture their confidence. This
report outlines these principles and connects them specifically to serving adult emergent
“Maestra! The letters speak.” Learning to Read for the First Time: Best Practices in Emergent Reading Instruction.
Minnesota and Wisconsin Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
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