Sunday, November 26, 2017

PASSages: An ESL Middle and ESL High School Intervention Resource

PASSages link to resource  Click on title below.
This educational resource was designed to facilitate the English Language Proficiency skills of middle and high school ELL students. Vocabulary, comprehension, story elements, sentence structure and grammar are some of the skills that are targeted in this resource. Learning English through content is the most powerful way to master a new language. Activities develop language proficiency over the four domains of reading, writng, listening and speaking. The passages were chosen based on a partcular criteria:

1) Interest Level: ELL students need to be engaged with literature that resonates with their age. Giving them a third grade reading meant for an eight year old is not going to hold their interest
and will diminish their self esteem.

2) Reading Level: Passages were chosen on an Intermediate ELP reading level for grade cluster 9-12. This is usually around a grade three reading level. This applies to middle schoolers as well. 

Twilight is the featured novel in this edition of PASSages. The PASSages resource can be used whether the teacher is having the students read the entire book or just the passages. Many support teachers (ESL Specialists and Special Ed. Resource) do not have time to read an entire book in the time they are allotted with their students. Reading an entire novel would take an entire semester with little support work getting done. The support work helps with the developing of vocabulary growth and honing ELA related skills. PASSages is designed to help meet these goals in the time constraints many teachers are faced with on a daily basis. 

ELL Reading PASSages’ Pedagogy

The pedagogical premise of using PASSages’ resources for middle and high school students is based on the core importance of the five areas of reading: vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, phonemic awareness, and fluency. These areas are usually developed by the time students are in high school. They are reading to learn and not learning to read at this point. Although, there are many students that have not mastered the five areas of reading by the time they arrive in high school, either due to cognitive, behavioral, poverty or second language acquisition issues.
PASSages provides a teacher with a resource that targets the most crucial areas of reading. The students that are the target audience for this resource are reading on a primary grade level. The novels that the passages were taken from are books that are written on a primary reading level but have an interest level for older students. The books are easy to read but are infused with a rich vocabulary. Vocabulary that is found on high school PARCC and SAT exams. 



The resource provides the teacher with templates that are differentiated for the various levels of proficiency the students are functioning on in language. English Language Proficiency levels are noted at the bottom of each template. This allows the teacher to choose either comfort zone work or work that challenges the zone of proximity.


The main focus of this resource is to build vocabulary. Vocabulary is the key area to build for academic success. The goal is to build strong personal lexicons for the students at a fast rate. PASSages’ resources provides a great way for the teacher to present material as “comprehensible input in a low anxiety setting”. This is a key methodology for the successful teaching of language skills. (S,Krashen- Linguist)

English Language Proficiency Levels for Literature PASSages

At the bottom of each activity page are suggested student ELP levels. These are provided to help the teacher decide which activities are best suited for their particular students. The teachers may choose to do all the activities with higher performing students, as these activities will be enriching their language abilities.


Here are some video clips of ELLs doing some of the vocabulary building activities found in the kit:

In this video clip the ELL students are sharing their experiences of learning a second language and how the PASSages techniques and strategies have helped them achieve academic success in all subjects.




 Click on picture to see video


This video clip shows an activity using vocabulary tier two words from PASSages lesson.  It is a simple card game with the vocabulary word on the from and the definition on the back.  This clip was done at the beginning of the period.
 This next clip was taken from the last activity on the same day as the clip above.  Students need multiple engaging activities to help them internalize the new words. You can see the progress they have made in one period with these words.  One student even corrected a mistake on the spelling of one of the cards that they had made. (not in clip)  The  PASSages resource is full of strategies, activities and methods that will engage your students and build their vocabulary and comprehension skills over the four domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking!