As soon as I read about Teaching English Through Spanish Literacy, I applied to attend. I can truly imagine how this could help those Spanish-speaking ELLs that are illiterate in their native language.
Ruth Colvin – who needs no introduction – began our workshop by first explaining the need for such a curriculum. She gave us an initial example in English of how her curriculum works. We all responded to her gestures as if we were learners: “Hola, Amigo Mío”
This greeting gets broken down to: Ho-la, a-mi-go mí-o.
Then, after reviewing the sounds of the vowels, we ask students to put each syllable below its corresponding vowel.
Once she drilled us rigorously as ELLs, she had each of us take turns at the front of the class and practice (with the class as our learners) what we had just learned, but this time in Spanish. This experience was a bit more challenging than I had expected, but all attendees very graciously helped each other out.
Mrs. Colvin asked assistants to distribute a teacher’s instructor manual and two student booklets to each of us, to use when we meet with our learner(s). She also assigned homework to read and prepare for the following day.
The next day, we started right back practicing what we had done the day before. Only this time, we chose other chapters to apply the same techniques. Naturally, the dialog was typically longer in the later chapters and more challenging.
We closed the workshop exchanging e-mail addresses and vowing to keep track of our learners’ development. Our goals include getting statistics to provide to get grants to fund this worthy project.
Everyone who participated was extremely excited about this project and we hope that our work can help Ruth Colvin roll out this program nationwide!
*Thanks to Mary Quijano for writing about her experience.