How to Teach the Basics of Writing to ESL Students
Aug 23, · To teach writing, students must know the basic parts of speech. Review nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Ask students to categorize words in these four categories. Taking time to ensure students understand the role of each part of speech . Nov 25, · Start by modeling clear writing at the sentence level. The best way to approach essay writing skills is to start at the sentence level. Once students have learned to compose simple, compound, and complex sentences, they will have the tools necessary to write longer documents such as essays, business reports, formal emails, and so on.
Your ESL students are working on their reading and writing skillsright? But you probably never seem to have enough time in class for both—especially when you want students to have speaking practice as well. While students may not realize it, reading and writing skills are closely writting and can easily be mixed together in assignments for their benefit. Although you might tend to focus on just one skill at a time in your ESL class, combining two in summary writing provides students with a greater range of information that can be used for future assignments.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. Writing a summary requires students to read more closely. Since they wroting read a text more than once to get a sense of the ideas presented, students will recognize and maintain more information than they would from just a single read.
This type of reading activity will help students see the relationship between ideas and improve their recognition of vocabulary through context. After students finish reading the text, they write a complete paragraph that captures the ideas presented in the text.
The structure of a single-paragraph summary will help reinforce the structure students need to write paragraphs in their essays.
As your students write this paragraph, the structure of the original how to teach writing for esl students and sentences—will influence their writing. You might need to teach your students how to format a summary more than once. They could very well understand it the first time, writinng will probably need reminders throughout the course. The main point for students to understand is that a summary is much hod than the original text.
Until they reach higher levels of English, keep to the single-paragraph writin to simplify the process. This limit also requires you to fog assign texts that can be summarized in one paragraph.
After explaining what a summary is and how long it should be, you should introduce your class to some words and phrases that can be included. The easiest way for students to begin writing summaries is to use the phrase:.
Using this phrase studentx begin the summary usually helps students get right writlng the main idea of the text. If you have already read and discussed texts as a class, this step should be easier.
So your class should pick up on the cues and be able to ask their own sudents. ESL students sometimes have difficulty finding the main idea in a text.
Of course, in higher levels of ESL, texts are purposely complex so that students must put ideas together to form one coherent main idea. Returning to the questions that students are asking while reading will help them find the main idea more quickly. If students struggle with writing thesis statements trach topic sentences, it will yow more difficult for them to find the main idea of an essay.
Be sure to review these points of essay writing to make summary writing easier. While not every text will contain an opinion, fr should still teach your students how to locate it.
While a text might not studejts an opinion, there will still be a purpose for the studnts to find and write about. Why are your students reading this text? What are they supposed to understand after reading studenfs Students should ask more questions about the text in this step. Most students will have already picked up on questions associated with this step while reviewing general questions they need to ask while reading.
This step is usually the easiest for students. During your first lesson on summary writing, you can ask students whether or not they think they should include specific points from the text.
This should give them a better idea of the difference between major and minor supporting ideas. We know the essentials needed for students to write a basic summary, but how can you improve their writing quality? Here are teacb tips:. One of the most difficult points for ESL students to grasp is the idea of concise writing.
In their first years of learning English, they are constantly told to write more. This is especially important when writing summaries. Teaching students to write concise sentences takes a lot of time and energy, but you can improve the situation by providing writinng lessons and exercises throughout the course.
The main path is to remind students vor focus on writing in the active voice rather than the passive voice. Teaching concise writing can also be combined with lessons that focus on proofreading skills, as well as eliminating simple vocabulary. When students have a difficult how to download imessage on macbook differentiating between the major supporting details and details that can be left out of a summary, what food feeds cancer cells relatable examples for students to use.
The easiest method for getting students to understand the difference is to use movies. You could even have the students watch a movie in class or as homework to assist with this exercise. Not what are object pronouns in spanish which film to choose? Here are some great modern classics for English learners.
This should help them understand that not all details are necessary to understand a story. If your students still struggle, ask them to tell you about the movie in only three sentences.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
As mentioned previously, students might be tempted to copy words and phrases from the original text. A useful exercise to break them of the copying habit is to have your students read the text a few times and take notes. Then, take the original text away and have students write the summary. After they finish the summary, return the text to them so they can review and ensure all the necessary details are included. This process will not only encourage students to write in their own style, but it will also improve their memory.
Universities and colleges with online writing resources will always have a page for writing summaries, but studentz of the resources make for how to find the dewey decimal number for a book teaching and reference material than others.
Here are a few of the better resource pages to use in class:. If you're looking for creative ways to teach Esll, then you'll love using FluentU in your classroom! How to teach writing for esl students got a huge collection of authentic Teacy videos that people in the English-speaking world actually watch regularly.
There are tons of great choices there when you're looking for songs for in-class activities. You'll find music videos, musical numbers from cinema and theater, kids' singalongs, commercial jingles and much, much more. On FluentU, all the videos are sorted by driting level and are carefully annotated for students. Words come with example sentences and definitions.
Students will be able to add them to their studenta vocabulary lists, and even see how the words are used in other videos. Plus, these great videos are all accompanied by interactive features and active learning tools for students, like multimedia flashcards and fun how to start a day well like "fill in the blank.
Not to mention, it's guaranteed to get your students excited about learning English! Sign up for a free trial and bring FluentU to your classroom today. If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach English with real-world videos.
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1. Develop Your Lesson Plans
Depending on a student's language ability, they may need sentence starters in order to begin the writing activity. Provide students with sentence starters that relate to the topic. A vocabulary. Use activities and worksheets. Websites such as the ESL Teachers’ Board have a variety of games and exercises you can use to teach writing to ESL students. Examples include helping them compose answers to job advertisements, creating comic answers to letters and writing letters to friends and family (see Resources below). Teach concise writing One of the most difficult points for ESL students to grasp is the idea of concise writing. In their first years of learning English, they are constantly told to write more. As students reach higher levels of ESL, however, they’ll need to change their style and write more concise sentences.
In my previous post I talked about the ESL newcomer curriculum and even earlier — t opics to cover when you have and absolute beginner ESL student. But I just realized that none of those tips covered writing in greater detail! Imagine yourself in a situation when you are just starting out to learn a new language. You literally know nothing — words make no sense, reading is all jumbled, writing is strange. With this knowledge in mind, you can begin planning your writing instruction for ESL beginners.
In order for someone to be able to produce writing, they need to know the alphabet and how those letters and sounds form words, which later turn into sentences. In English, the vowel has the power. It is important to teach ESL beginners yes, even older ones. Actually, especially older ones! Some languages do not place as huge a significance on vowels or the words are pronounced pretty much as they are written. Therefore, in order to begin writing your ESL beginners will need to pay extra special attention to the alphabet.
If the students are very young or have never gone to school and are older , knowing what sounds are represented by letters, which are then combined into words and later sentences is crucial. Writing direction matters. Keep in mind that even when students advance in their English learning journey, expect that they may revert to what comes naturally to them.
For example, I read a book. This sentence type has many varieties but beginning with simple sentences allows the students to internalize the rhythm of the language. When teaching ESL beginners, keep in mind that other languages may follow a different pattern than translates into English, at least in the beginning. Since English follows a strict word order, it is important for us to teach the students parts of speech and where to place them in a sentence when writing.
When teaching beginners — whether it be writing or speaking — we always start with the words that carry the most important information.
These are nouns who? We then move into the descriptions about how things look, taste, smell or feel. These are the adjectives, which add the flavor to both speaking and writing. Adverbs, words that describe a quality of a verb, come later. That said, practicing parts of speech does not have to be complicated. Every time your students learn new words, you can have a running table that looks like this:. The students can place the words in each of the categories and then use those words in writing their own sentences.
Those students whose language backgrounds are similar to English usually grasp the concept of punctuation and capitalization fairly quickly. For others, starting writing with a capital letter and placing a period, question mark or an exclamation point at the end might be a novel idea. They may have never learned it, never internalized it or their language has different rules such as symbols instead of letters.
In any case, explaining the basic rule that a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark such as a period, etc. You can then keep the students accountable for that and also build on it. For example, capitalizing proper nouns, doing reported speech using quotation marks and commas. But the basics will already be there. Beginner ESL students are learning new words all day, every day. Even when they are not presented by you in a list.
Utilize their newly gained knowledge by practicing writing! It is easy for us to get carried away with writing a persuasive paragraph or a 5 paragraph essay. Writing is a productive skill and takes time. Provide sentence frames so they can only plug in single words and phrases which is where they are at right now.
Provide word banks with nouns and simple verbs remember the table I mentioned earlier? That should come in really handy now! This activity builds on adjective use and expand the vocabulary into shapes, colors and textures. Like with nouns and verbs, you can have a similar table displayed that they can refer to while writing. The next couple of activities utilize writing a paragraph because the students have already acquired the basics of writing. First of all, we need to teach the basic paragraph structure which is a whole other topic for another blog post.
Topics can vary from favorite time of year to any other theme that the students can connect with. Have you ever received a postcard from a friend? I love them! My sister always sends me one whenever she travels and I have them displayed where I can see. This is a wonderful opportunity for all age groups to bring their culture and life into the lesson.
You can try a penpal system to allow students to experience real-life writing. It is wonderful to receive a postcard from a place that they think is so distant and unreachable. Email has taken over many other forms of writing. However, you will be surprised how many people still do not know how to write it properly. It is important to teach your students that there is a structure to an email, just like to any other form of writing.
It does not have to be fancy, but it must convey what the writer wants the reader to know. I encourage my older students to email me and other teachers with any questions or ideas. It is a fantasti real-life practice. In America, a thank-you note is something that is expected.
In other cultures, not so much. However, it is nice to receive a thank you note and as I mentioned earlier, in certain situations in America, it is expected that you will write one. I did a FB Live on this topic in my group and I am including the video below — it contains examples of each of the writing activities. You can also find me on YouTube for more videos — make sure to subscribe and follow! Skip to content In my previous post I talked about the ESL newcomer curriculum and even earlier — t opics to cover when you have and absolute beginner ESL student.
Here is what you will learn in this blog post: The basics Alphabet Sentence structure Parts of speech Punctuation and capitalization Writing practice activities Start with the basics Imagine yourself in a situation when you are just starting out to learn a new language. Alphabet In order for someone to be able to produce writing, they need to know the alphabet and how those letters and sounds form words, which later turn into sentences.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when teaching the alphabet: In English, the vowel has the power. Note: Writing direction matters. For example: I read. You run. They speak. Parts of speech Since English follows a strict word order, it is important for us to teach the students parts of speech and where to place them in a sentence when writing. Every time your students learn new words, you can have a running table that looks like this: Person, place, thing, idea Action Description how does it look, feel, taste, smell?
Punctuation and capitalization Those students whose language backgrounds are similar to English usually grasp the concept of punctuation and capitalization fairly quickly. Practice writing Beginner ESL students are learning new words all day, every day.
Writing activities for ESL beginners Writing about self This type of writing is the most relatable topic they can write about almost immediately. You can: Provide sentence frames so they can only plug in single words and phrases which is where they are at right now Provide word banks with nouns and simple verbs remember the table I mentioned earlier?
Think about what they like and places they have been to or would like to visit Here are a few writing topics to consider: Sports soccer, tennis, basketball,etc.
Places school, home, office, home country, etc. Students can do the following: Draw a person and label Fill-in-the blank utilizing a word bank Students have the basic sentence starters and use the word banks. Describe an object This activity builds on adjective use and expand the vocabulary into shapes, colors and textures. Other writing activities for ESL beginners The next couple of activities utilize writing a paragraph because the students have already acquired the basics of writing.
A simple paragraph can be about anything, really. Whenever I travel, I get requests from friends and family for a card from that place. Writing an email Email has taken over many other forms of writing. Thank you note In America, a thank-you note is something that is expected. This is another great real-life writing practice as well as very practical. So here are my tips for teaching the basics of writing to ESL beginners.
Still have more questions than answers?