The international students in this urban school come from a variety of backgrounds; most are refugees from countries with a history of turmoil and war. They live in urban neighborhoods and subsist on very little, yet they do not complain; they are tough. What is admirable is that many of my students work after school to help support their families. They plan on going to college for a better future, which means acquiring academic skills through reading.
My ESOL students' primary needs are not solely physical, but also intellectual: specifically, instructional print resources to help them in their efforts to learn academic English.
Even though not all genres of printed materials may be considered essential, all books--fiction or non-fiction-- are crucial for facilitating the acquisition and the improvement of English for non-native students.
English language classes are usually mixed in grade and ability levels. The book selections for these classes should reach and provide a model for survival in a new environment, and teach life skills to my high-schoolers. In short, having these books available in our classroom will provide ELL students easier access to multi-dimensional literacy.
One way for my ELL students to be better engaged in our Western Culture is to have access to various books from a wide range of subjects, especially those dealing with challenges people of all backgrounds and eras have faced.
Overcoming obstacles in life in diverse situations is what these three books deal with.
Books are creativity teachers. Reading Lord of the Flies in groups and discussing them will help us use and practice not just the academic vocabulary, but enable all to share their unusual experiences. Maus I will reveal the other side of a dystopic place. They all talk about a variety of times and places, most likely similar to the hardships these ELLs had to go through before coming here.
Learning the English language in diverse settings and in all its nuances is what these titles will offer my mixed-level ESOL students.
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