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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Module 7 - Supporting reading


Supporting students who are learning to read in a new language is an important role and there are a number of factors you need to consider when working with the students.

In this module you'll be provided with guidance and suggestions for:

  •  supporting your students at the different stages in learning to read.
  •  supporting them not only to decode but also to comprehend texts

Refer to page 57 in your handbook to learn about the range of strategies and the resources (printed and online) that are available to support reading. You can download the PDF of this module here: 

Teacher holding resource DVDs.

Audio transcript

Kia Orana, I’m Rae Si’ilata.

If you have completed Module 6, you will have a better understanding of:

  • asking different types of questions in order to promote critical thinking in students
  • the strategies students can use to ask more effective questions about curriculum topics
  • and allowing wait time before ELLs are asked to respond.

Module 7 reminds us that learning to read in a new language can take time and often depends on the literacy levels of the students in their first language. The English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP) can be used to determine the text level that students can read and understand. This will provide a clearer picture of student abilities and also state the next steps and strategies that will assist students to move on and read at a higher level.

Reading is a complex process. For ELLs, there should be a systematic programme to develop letter and sound recognition or phonemic awareness. Secondly, vocabulary and reading skills in context, related to topic work, should be supported through a graded reading programme which includes different kinds of text.

Many approaches discussed in earlier modules can be used to support students, and in particular to help them in not just reading the words but fully understanding the text.

  • Encourage ELLs to use their first language when discussing pictures about the topic.
  • Divide each task into small steps and use scaffolding techniques to introduce the new text.
  • Discuss the type of text being read and the features and organisation we can expect (ELIP does this effectively).
  • Use vocabulary strategies to learn key words.
  • Sequence pictures and sentences from the text.

There are many resources available to support reading programmes for ELLs. The Sound and Words website on Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI), will assist in the development of phonemic awareness. Tupu readers feature stories at various levels in five Pasifika languages with English translations if needed.

By the time you have completed this module, you will be able to confidently use a range of structured approaches that will assist ELLs to develop and improve their reading skills.

Learning tasks

In this module you have one task to complete.

Building knowledge about supporting reading

This task will help you to use a reading checklist chart to make the most of a reading text when working with English language learners at Foundation and Stage 1.

It should take you about 45 minutes to complete this task, then discuss it with your coordinating teacher.

Play the video below to see an example of a sequencing activity being used to develop students’ understanding of a science text.



Students - This one goes there. It kind of explains Operation Nesting and the system to it, and then it starts the process.

Student - The words that helped put it in order were like “firstly” and it kind of connected a bit and like with “then” and “after”.

Students - “Then” will go first, and then it must be “after”. And after that “later”.

It must be, no, it can’t be “later” it must be “after” or something. After 90 days, nah, it can’t be that.

Student - It is put into a chilli bin and taken by a car to Hokitika and then, after 90 days the kiwi is heard and will crack a small hole in the shell.

No this one’s not it, no this one’s not it, this one’s after this. After 90 days the kiwi is heard.

Oh yeah!

And then after it hatches.

And this one is the title.

And we’re done.

Your thoughts

The Next Steps section of this module (p60), suggests that you view the Guided Reading DVD, and Re-read Resource 7A: Reading steps for new learners of English, and use these techniques on a text the students are reading in class.

Discuss the Next Steps section in the handbook with your coordinating teacher then answer these questions about your learning from this module:

  1. What are three concepts and three terms you learnt in this module?
  2. What learning tasks did you complete in this module?
  3. How will you apply the learning tasks from this module with your students?
  4. What main issues did you discuss with your coordinating teacher?
  5. What do you need to find out more about and how will you do this?
  6. What do you need to do to prepare for the next module?

When you've completed all of the questions, you've finished the module. Your coordinating teacher can sign off the module on the course completion certificate

Published on: 08 Jan 2018