On Saturday, May 30, I had the privilege of conducting a 75 minute, Reading Horizons Instruction and Intervention presentation at the New Mexico TESOL Workshop.
As part of an exchange program with the University of New Mexico State?s ?Go Teacher? program, ten women from Ecuador will become certified TESOL teachers. Upon completion of the program in August, they will travel back to their home country where they will use the skills they have learned to teach students, Grades K-12, the English language. This training was a new experience for me in the sense that I was not only training teachers on the Reading Horizons methodology, but teachers who were once ESL students themselves.
As we began the presentation, discussing Letter Groups, the slide, and marking vowels with an ?x?, it became apparent to me that these were skills they had never been introduced to. As a result, I adjusted my presentation to include more hands-on, transferring of skills activities so as to allow the teachers the opportunity to reinforce their own learning by teaching their peers. When we discussed spelling with C and K, I implemented more dictation as well as the opportunity for the teachers to include visual images to better supplement the content. For example, they drew a cat when decoding the word as well as identifying which vowel accompanies the sound of /k/.
I believe, the most important lesson these women acquired was the difference between a short and long vowel. As native Spanish speakers, they are accustomed to different sounds and therefore do not have the ?trained English language brain? when it comes to vowel sounds. Providing them with kinesthetic and visual cues assisted immensely in their understanding and eventual differentiation between the sounds of short and long vowels.
As we progressed through the Five Phonetic Skills and the Two Decoding Skills, I presented each skill, provided multiple examples but then had each teacher come to the front of the classroom, verbally dictate additional words which followed the ?learned? skill, and then had them provide corrective feedback to their peers. They were engaged, responsive, and eager to share their acquired knowledge of these skills.
After the presentation concluded, they requested additional copies of the syllabus, bookmarkers, and ?cling sheets? so they could then use these materials in their own future lessons. They took many photos throughout the day and requested a final group photo so as to remember this training. Their feedback has been nothing but positive, requesting more time and more trainings that follow this methodology.
- Lauren Fieman, M.Ed.