For English Learners (ELs), navigating a textbook is a daunting challenge. Often the information is at a reading level that is much higher than what they are reading at. ELs may lack background knowledge regarding the material presented in the texts. ELs may also not have experiences with using a textbook in their home country. Teaching ELs, and all students, how to navigate a textbook will make learning more meaningful and less stressful. Here are some strategies to assist students in navigating a textbook as a tool for learning. Once they know these techniques, they can apply them to any content area that uses a textbook.
Strategy #1: Teach students textbook elements
Show students textbooks elements that are designed to help them navigate a textbook. ELs who have had have interrupted schooling may have never encountered these elements in their past school experiences. Others will benefit from a reminder.
Also, show students examples and ask them questions to aid in comprehension. Here are some examples of questions you may ask:
Strategy #2: Teach students chapter elements
Show students examples of chapter elements and talk about their functions.
Explicitly teach the difference between these elements and when to use them. Ask students questions to aid in their use. Here are some examples of questions you may ask:
Strategy #3: Teach students to do a “Chapter Walk”
At first these strategies may seem time-consuming, but as students become more familiar with elements of a textbook and chapter, they will begin to navigate the information much more quickly and efficiently. They will also be more engaged in the learning as they have become invested in searching for information. They will see the textbook as a vital tool to assist them in learning.
For more information regarding a Chapter Walk:
This post brought to you by Katie Miller, K-12 EL Implementation Associate
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