F17 EDUC 58128 Teaching Reading and Comprehension to English Language Learners, K-5

F17 EDUC 58128 Teaching Reading and Comprehension to English Language Learners, K-5

Self paced, start anytime
3 Credits/Graded/500-Level
Meets State of Alaska recertification requirements
Credit through Alaska Pacific University

In this course, Dr. Margarita Calderón outlines techniques for elementary teachers seeking to improve the reading and comprehension skills of English learners in their classrooms. With straightforwardness, patience, and humor, Dr. Calderón leads workshop participants through the steps needed to select vocabulary for reading, pre-teach this vocabulary, and model comprehension strategies like think-alouds and partner reading. Writing and editing strategies complete the picture.

Dr. Calderón connects instructional practice with the Common Core State Standards, and backs up her recommendations with research:
  • Command of a large vocabulary frequently sets high-achieving students apart from less successful students (Graves, 2006).
  • English learners benefit from discussions about cognates, affixes, pronunciation, decoding, multiple meanings, phrasal clusters, and idioms using the word in question (Calderón et al., 2009).
  • Strategies for learning vocabulary and strategies for reading comprehension should not be taught separately but in the context of the text students are about to read (Calderón, 2009).
  • For English learners, vocabulary knowledge, reading, and writing are connected and must be practiced in all the disciplines (National Research Council, 2010).
How easily can Dr. Calderón’s suggestions be implemented in the classroom? Participants will get an immediate answer to that question, as workshop participants demonstrate the principles they’ve learned. Educators will also observe first-hand that the techniques that strengthen the skills of English learners provide sound instruction for all students.

Course Objectives
  • How to recognize the diversity of English learners (ELs) in their classroom
  • The importance of building vocabulary among ELs in the early grades
  • The recommendations of the Common Core State Standards regarding the teaching of
  • reading and writing

Unit 1: Introduction

In a lively workshop format, Dr. Calderón provides an overview of the classroom realities for English learners (ELs), including the breadth of experience they bring. Educators complete this unit with a better understanding of their students’ needs, the importance of vocabulary acquisition to school success, and ways to enlist family support.

Unit 2: Selecting Words to Teach

In this unit, teachers learn how to select vocabulary worthy of instruction. Dr. Calderón goes beyond content-related vocabulary, identifying polysemous words, idioms, information processing words, connectors, and cognates as words that ELs need to make meaning from text. Educators complete this unit with a solid understanding of these terms, and it won’t be long before students know them, too.

Unit 3: Teaching Vocabulary

In this unit, Dr. Calderón describes a seven-step process to teach vocabulary that maximizes students’ opportunities to speak and interact with each other. We see this process as it’s implemented in a 5th-grade math class for the very first time, and students describe what they learned.

Unit 4: Teaching Reading

In this segment, Dr. Calderón models the use of think-alouds and partner reading to improve comprehension. We visit a 3rd-grade classroom to see these strategies in action, as students read about laws and civic responsibilities.

Unit 5: Teaching Writing

In this unit, Dr. Calderón makes clear the connection between reading and writing in the content areas. She provides practical strategies for reviewing vocabulary, writing, and editing, all of which encourage students’ delight in the process and pride in the finished work. We visit a

2nd-grade classroom to see the launch of a science writing activity, and students describe what they learned.

Unit 6: Conclusion

Materials (eBook): Teaching Reading & Comprehension to English Learners, K-5 By: Margarita Calderon.  Available online through the course.

Course grading will be A-F based upon the following - 

Percentage of Course Credit
•    Reflection questions 25%
•    Quizzes 15%
•    Midterm 25%
•    Final 35%
A: 90 ‐ 100 points
B: 80 ‐ 89 points
C: 70 ‐ 79 points
D: 60 ‐ 69 points
F: Fewer than 60 points

Course Completion Policy
From the date of registration, registrants have a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year to complete the course.  Per Alaska Pacific University policy, grades will not be submitted before the 30 day minimum period.

Cancellation Policy
Any and all cancellations of ASDN Distance Education courses, within 30 days of registration, will result in a $90 cancellation fee. No refunds will be issued after 30 days.


Contact Information

  • Phone: 907-364-3809
    Email: asdn@alaskaacsa.org