Saturday, October 27, 2012


With 3 out of every 30 students now being ELLs in American classrooms, teachers must be able to deliver common lesson themes through different lenses.  For ELLs, the issue is a mixture of limited English skills and a lack of knowledge of American/English culture.  These two limitations can lead to major struggles in an English literature class.

One way to address this is through internet supports.  Spark Notes (a favorite of all students studying English literature) has had short online summaries of major works available for years.  The problem for ELLs is that the language level used is too difficult so there is minimal benefit in reading them for those students.

However, Spark Notes has added a new feature that will definitely benefit ELLs--short illustrated versions of 24 major works of literature with narration.  Of course, a student won't be able to use this in lieu of the actual text, but for an ELL, s/he would be able to attend the class with some background knowledge of the book before the teacher starts the lesson.  With the building of background knowledge, the novel will make more sense.  In fact, the questions which the ELLs may pose about content will be far more academic in nature than what they would have been had the ELLs not had access to the quick summary overviews.  CARTOON SUMMARIES OF MAJOR PIECES OF LITERATURE

Now, though many students don't own computers, most do have cell phones, access to school computers in the school library, and occasional use of classroom computers.  This site would make the text less overwhelming.



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