Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nursery Rhymes, Poetry, and English Language Learners

Growing up an English language learner, my early years in school were challenging.  I didn’t have the benefit of Spanish language instruction, or ELD support.  There were times when I didn’t understand what was happening in the classroom, and found myself shadowing my classmates.  However, I also recall having rich activities with song, dance, and language. 

The nursery rhymes in the early grades, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, along with hand gestures and body movement, lowered my affective filter and helped me to remember words and phrases more effectively.  In the later grades, it was poetry. In the sixth grade, I learned and presented Paul Revere’s Ride.  Learning through nursery rhymes and poetry provided me with a great opportunity to practice the cadence of the English language, to develop strong vocabulary, and to articulate more clearly.  The opportunity to present Paul Revere’s Ride helped to give me confidence in acquiring English.  Teaching through poetry can be a great experience for both teachers and EL students.  

In a recent article,  Language Unleashed: The Powerful Poetry of Multilingual Students, MindShift talks about the power of poetry in supporting English language learners in their English language development.  

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