• Language Acquisition -- Beginners

     

    Pre-Production Stage

  • What Students Can Do

    • Minimal Comprehension
      • About 500 receptive words
      • Can understand much more than he/she can say
    • Almost never uses English to communicate
    • Responds non-verbally to commands, statements, and questions.
    • No verbal production
      • Silent period
        • Lasting up to six months
      • Uses gestures to convey needs
    • May tire easily and appear frustrated because of the effort required to listen to a foreign language all day.
    • Comprehension of content through non-print materials: pictures, maps, tables

    What You Can Do

    • Allow student to answer non-verbally by pointing, drawing, circling.
    • Use pictures and realia to build vocabulary.
    • Choose a buddy to model for them.
    • Use short, simple sentences
    • Use names rather than pronouns
    • Ask yes/no questions
    • Focus on key vocabulary and key concepts.  Don't expect them to be responsible for learning everything.
    • Use alternate assessments. 

    Early Production Stage

    What Students Can Do

    • Lasts about six months beyond the silent period.
    • Limited Comprehension
      • 1000 receptive/active words
    • Answers with "yes" or "no." 
    • Uses one and two word utterances to communicate (example:  "Is the box big or little?"  "Big.")
    • Puts two or more words together (for example: "small square")
    • Uses set expressions (for example: "May I go to the bathroom ? " "My name is John." 

    What You Can Do

    • Ask yes/no and either/or questions
    • Accept one and two word answers Use pictures and realia to support questions.
    • Modify content information to the language level of ELLs.
    • Provide audio support 
    • Simplify content materials to be used.
      • Focus on key vocabulary and concepts.
    • Use graphic organizers, charts and graphs.
    • Allow students to label pictures. Allow students to write bulleted lists and short sentences, rather than longer writing responses. Provide a framework to scaffold writing.
      Allow extended time for task completion.

    Speech Emergence Stage

    What Students Can Do

    • Lasts up to an additional year.
    • Increased Comprehension
      • 3000 active words
    • Uses three or more words and short phrases. (for example: "I like pizza."  "Stand up.")
    • Uses simple sentences to communicate (for example: "There are four pencils.")
    • Functions on a social level
      • This is often mistaken for language fluency.
    • Complex errors in speech
    • Comprehension of content through visuals and English presented in simple sentences, not complex structures.

    What You Can Do

    • Read short, modified texts in content area subjects
    • Allow students to complete graphic organizers using word banks.
    • Provide pictures, charts and graphs to help students understand questions.
    • Allow students to match vocabulary to definitions.
    • Have students make flashcards with content area vocabulary
    • Allow students to continue writing short responses.
    • Grade on content, not language.
    • Allow extended time for task completion.