16. Ideas for EAL students
- Use titles from authors who are internationally known (e.g. Rowling, Dahl), which students may be familiar with from their home countries. There may be easier versions (e.g. ‘the book of the film’) that can be used at first.
- Liaise with specialist teachers, who may be working with EAL students on a one-to-one basis.
- Use ‘bite-sized’ reads such as Rising Stars’ Downloads series, Barrington Stoke titles, and Ransom Publishing’s Boffin Boy series.
- Make use of adult series such as the NIACE ‘Quick Reads’.
- Encourage, and take part in European Day of Languages, on 26 September each year. Students wear multi-language ‘Talk to Me’ stickers, to encourage conversations in their language - or another language they understand.
- Consider titles originally published in the home countries of EAL students (e.g. Cornelia Funke and Christine Nöstlinger, for Germany).
- Remember folk tales from EAL students’ countries of origin (e.g. Orchard’s Magical Tales from around the World series). The same publisher’s Once upon a World series pairs familiar folk stories with variants elsewhere, to show similarities.
- The plots of Shakespeare plays, and of Greek myths, (both in simplified versions) are also widely known, and might provide common ground.
- Seek translated titles. Winged Chariot is one example here.
- Check your stock for stories about the immigrant experience. (Picture books such as Amy Hest’s When Jessie came across the Sea, Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey; novels such as Imran Ahmad’s Unimagined, Berlie Doherty’s Abela, Beverley Naidoo’s Making it Home, and Benjamin Zephaniah’s Refugee Boy; anthologies such as the Arts Council’s From There to Here.)
- Concentrate on early intervention. EAL students entering school at Year 7 need immediate help; they may be much more confident English users by Years 9 or 10.
- Include in your range of library activities those which place EAL students on a more even footing - e.g. use a team approach to any quizzes, etc., where they can contribute without being singled out.
- Also include library and reading activities that actively favour EAL students - e.g. quiz questions on their home countries, or international subjects like ‘food around the world’.
- Since many EAL students may know some English through English Language movies, and English language song lyrics, make use of both these in your library, and in activities.
- Contribute to special events, such as a ‘Week of History and Culture’ in school, focussing on different countries, and including products, food, etc. Such an event could specifically feature the countries of EAL families.
- Make use of non-fiction books and series, such as ‘Moving to Britain from...’, and ‘New EU Countries and Citizens’ series (both published by Watts).
- Poetry can be useful - the structure, along with rhyme, rhythm and repetition, helps in learning English
- Picture books - particularly those with busy pictures - can provide lots to describe, and thus a lot of language use