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My Best Websites for Phonics with ESOL students.

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I've been spending the last few weeks encouraging my Pre-Entry low literacy students to do self-study with a focus on phonics- particularly looking at initial sound patterns and CVC words. My students all have access to Microsoft Teams and after a lot of practice they can now log on and click on their class Team independently. When they have logged on they can click on the websites I post and access them on their mobiles. This has been really useful in enabling my learners to practice at home. If you want to know more about using Microsoft Teams with a low literacy class, let me know in the comments box below and I will post more information about it when I have time. Here are my best self-study phonics websites and videos: Citizen Literacy – Reading and Writing for Everyone  This is an excellent app for reviewing basic literacy and phonic skills. Learn to Read with Phonics | Starfall Education e Word Machine (starfall.com)   Phonics - KS1 English - BBC Bitesize phonics – Shaw Eng

My latest Entry 1 Writing Worksheets and Workbook 2

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It's that time of year again when my students are frantically preparing for their Entry 1 ESOL and Functional Skills exams in a few weeks time.  The vast majority of my learners find writing in English extremely challenging, particularly if they come from low literacy backgrounds or their first language has a different alphabet like Arabic or Kurdish. I have tried to create activities that focus on "practical" situations that my students may face (e.g. writing a text message to their teacher). However as the exam topics are not always that relevant my students everyday lives (sending a postcard is a very Western concept!) some of the worksheets have been created specifically to help my learners prepare for activities they may come across in ESOL and FS Entry 1 writing exams. Each of the worksheets follow the same pattern. There is an example text, questions to answer, a "think of" / "choose" section where students need to use their own ideas, a templa

Pre-Entry body parts, health problems and medical treatment resources.

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 Over the last few weeks I have been introducing my very low (zero) literacy ESOL students to body parts, health problems and medical treatment vocabulary. One of the main reasons for this is to encourage my students to be confident should they or their family need medical help. Another reason is to help them see that certain words like "children" and "expiry date" can be found on medication labels, enabling them to gain some practical skills for word recognition.  My PowerPoints can be used for both Zoom and face-to-face teaching. They include slow typing motion to show students how the words are formed (with colour-coded vowels). They also include matching activities, simple sentences to practice reading and a few have "fill in the missing letter" activities (see below). Today, I asked my colleagues to bring in their old "over the counter" medical packaging and I was able to create a mini pharmacy in my classroom. My students were able to look

Pre-Entry Literacy Progression Test.

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After 3 months of online teaching due to lockdown, I am rather pleased to be back to face-to-face teaching again! It has been so lovely to see students in flesh rather than on a screen and everyone seems so happy to be back :) One of the things I've been keen to establish with my very low/ zero literacy Pre-Entry students is how much their literacy and language skills have developed over the last few months and where I will need to 'pitch' my class over the next few weeks. I will also have some new learners starting, so it will be useful to know how much to 'repeat' what we did online and which words and phonic patterns we can move onto next. Therefore, I've created a 'Pre-Entry Literacy Progression Test', which covers basic phonic activities such as initial letter recognition, CVC and CVCC words and simple sentences. I have also included activities to review personal information and basic vocabulary (e.g. colours, clothes and house objects etc.).  To do

Easter and Ramadan Resources

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 I can't believe it's nearly Easter already. This term has gone so quickly teaching online, but I can't wait to go back to face-to-face lessons after the Easter holidays.  Here are two of my latest PowerPoints for zero/ low literacy Pre-Entry ESOL learners looking at Easter and Ramadan. This year in the UK Easter is on Sunday 4th April 2021 and Ramadan is roughly between Monday 12th April and Wednesday 15th May (depending on the moon).  My students come from very mixed backgrounds (mainly Middle Eastern and European) and they love finding out about each other's cultures. These PowerPoints are designed to give students the language to describe the festivals they might be familiar with and to share how they celebrate them.  Each PowerPoint consists of vocabulary colour coded to show the phonic patterns, videos, matching activities and spelling activities. Each PowerPoint should last about 2 hours on Zoom, depending on your class. I hope you enjoy using them, just click on

Phonics, Colours and Clothes for Pre-Entry Low Literacy Students on Zoom.

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 I've created two new PowerPoints for zero/ low literacy students to use on Zoom, this time focusing on colours and clothes (using British English). I have tried to break up the vocabulary into simple phonics patterns (CVC/ CVCC etc.) and to use words relevant to my students everyday lives.  I have struggled to find adult appropriate and phonics friendly materials for very low English learners who have zero / low literacy skills which uses British English. Whilst there is a lot of amazing American resources out there, I do feel it is important to familarise my students with British English words, as that is what they are most likely to encounter when shopping in Britain. Therefore, I have decided to include words like "jumper" instead of "sweater" and "trousers" instead of "pants".  Do you struggle with the differences between British and American English when teaching low level/ beginner English? What approach do you take? I'd love to re

Entry 1 Writing Workbook

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I have recently made a writing work book for my Entry 1 class who really need to practice their writing in order to progress to Entry 2. The workbook has 8 different texts covering letters and e-mails. Each text has an example, a framed writing activity and space for students to write on their own. There are also some correction activities at the end.  Feel free to download by clicking on picture. Let me know what you think in the comments box below 😀 

Pre-Entry Zoom Rooms of the House and Object lessons with Phonics.

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 I've recently created several resources to use with very low literacy Pre-Entry learners on Zoom. For the last six weeks we have been learning about rooms in the house and household objects. These materials have been created specifically for learners who are unable to read and write on their first language and who really struggle with learning to read in English. I have chosen to focus on rooms/ house objects as a way of making language meaningful and practical for my learners and to encourage them to practice using English in their everyday lives. Several of my learners really enjoyed describing their 'bedrooms' and 'living rooms' to me using their mobile phone cameras to give the class a tour and others started to write down object words on post-it notes which they stuck around their house! I have also tried to breakdown words by basic phonic and sound patterns. The Teach ABC English  https://www.teachabcenglish.com/book-1-activities.html website has some great

Back to Zoom Teaching and Pre-Entry House Object Words.

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 It's been awhile since my last few posts. but I have been rather busy going back to online teaching on Zoom. These last few weeks have involved going back to shouting "press connect to audio!" and "you need to unmute!" to my ESOL learners, most of whom have coped with online learning very well. I've also had the chance to be more creative with my online resources.  Here are my latest PowerPoints for my low/ zero literacy Pre-Entry learners learning about objects in the home. I have made the PowerPoints to focus on phonics and sound patterns and have chosen home words as a way to make the language relevant and meaningful to my learners' lives. Each PowerPoint has activities such as "read and find the object", encouraging my learners to go to the correct room and find the objects in their house e.g. "cup" and "cushion". There are also activities for matching the words to the pictures, filling in the missing letters, watching

It's beginning to look like Christmas!

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Today some of my students taught me how to say "Merry Christmas" in their languages:     I love teaching my students about Christmas at school and using it as a chance to find out about festivals and traditions in my students' own countries.  Many of my ESOL students are very familiar with Christmas as they celebrate it in their home countries. However, for a lot of my students from the Middle East and Sudan Christmas can be a completely new for them:  "Who is this man with a red coat and white beard? Why is my child dressed as a shepherd in their school play? Why are there green trees with lights in every shop and building?" These are just a few questions that my students often ask! There are many great Christmas resources out there. Two of my favorite videos to show students are: The Nativity Story for ESL students:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swmOqAcFP80 Mr Bean's Christmas:  Mr bean Episode 6 FULL EPISODE 'Merry Christmas, Mr bean' - YouTube