Imagine trying to read, but you didn't understand the words... You'd get frustrated and want to give up on reading altogether, right? This is the feeling my students face on a daily basis.
A majority of my students are English Language Learners and have a limited English proficiency.
Spanish is the primary language at home for most, and coming from economically disadvantaged home environments with multiple siblings, many simply have not had the exposure to reading and literature that allow for proper language development. While they have a basic knowledge of the English language, their academic vocabulary and ability to comprehend grade-level texts are very low. Fifth grade is a critical year in Texas, where if students do not pass the Reading STAAR test (the state standardized test), they will not graduate to sixth grade. We are working constantly on developing vocabulary, but without readily available resources (like dictionaries), my students are struggling and frustrated while they try to read words that they just don't understand.
These dictionaries would provide each student with a personal dictionary, and they may be kept at their desk ready for use whenever the need arises. While I try to clarify meaning as often as I can (like last week when we had to discuss what words like "resist" and "evaluate" mean), I cannot be there all the time with every single student. With a dictionary on hand, the students could learn to take the initiative and find word meanings out for themselves. It is important for them to develop the motivation and accountability for their own learning, because our ultimate goal is to prepare them for success in college. Enriching and expanding their vocabulary will be critical to their ability to comprehend what they read, and ultimately result in overall academic achievements that will build confidence and self-esteem in these optimistic children.
I frequently tell my students that choice, not chance, determines destiny.
I always have students choosing to ask me what words mean (while they're reading, working on homework, quizzes or other classwork), which tells me that they WANT to understand. By providing my class with a set of dictionaries, they could find out for themselves and take ownership of their own learning. If they understand what they read, they enjoy what they read, which builds confidence and will lead to ultimate success.Read More
|Merriam-Webster''s Dictionary and Thesaurus • AKJ Books||$13.46||25||$336.50|
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