263.  I need more training in teaching how to read & write at different levels.


It is not clear what you mean by “at different levels.”   Are you referring to age, or to language proficiency?

I am going to assume that you refer to language proficiency, in other words, to the levels or stages of language acquisition: 


Early Production,

Speech Emergence,

Intermediate Fluency, and


Of course, age has to be taken into account depending on the specific child.  Thus, we tend to think of Pre-production as the very early stages of language acquisition age-wise; that is, during the time when the child is a baby or a very young child –from ages 8 months to 2 ½ years.   But there are many Pre-production older learners and adults who are just beginning to learn another language.

Similarly, we tend to think of Early Production in terms of young children, ages 2 to 4 ½ years of age.   But there are many Early Production older learners and adults who, having learned a few words in a second language, make the decision to continue studying and practicing lo learn this second language.

Thus, reading and writing should be taught differently depending on the age of the student and on the student’s language proficiency or language acquisition level.

At the Pre-production level, as the alternate label for the “Silent Period” implies, the student cannot fully produce the new language s(he) is learning.   Learning to read and write at this stage, for OLDER Pre-production learners who might be literate in their own native language(s), may be similar to learning to read and write for a DEAF child or person.   They may be able to recognize many new English words, but not be able to produce them orally.  

For Pre-production speakers of “Romance” Languages, that is, the languages derived from Latin –Spanish, Italian, Rumanian, French, Portuguese-- learning to read and write English cognates of these languages is very easy!!!   Teachers could and should take advantage of this richness of similar words in English and Spanish, for example, as they teach English to Spanish-speaking English Learners and Spanish to English-speaking Spanish Learners.

In some cases older learners may learn to “read” ONLY the technical vocabulary of another language.   They remain at the “Silent Period” or Pre-production level forever.  For example, my dearest Aunt, Carmencita San Miguel y Pagés, R.I.P., was a culinary expert, and she “read” English, French and German cook books with ease, but never learned to speak neither of these language.   But she was fully literate in Spanish and had an incredible ability to decipher the intricacies of American, English, French and German recipes because she had the necessary technical background and experience through Spanish and the needed “visual” vocabulary in the other languages.

Early Production learners can and should also be taught English cognates of their native language(s), if they exist.   Early Production learners can express some simple thoughts in the new language they are learning.  

HOWEVER, any attempt to teach Pre-Production English Language Learners or Early Production English Language Learners through PHONICS will prove futile.   Non-English Pre-production / Early Production English Learners cannot HEAR nor PRODUCE the individual sounds of English.   These learners can learn patterns of similarities among English words –words that rhyme, for example.   And if the rhyming patterns correspond to regular spelling patterns, teaching reading and writing through these regularly sounding and spelled patterns makes sense.   EVERYTHING else MUST BE MEMORIZED because these learners have extreme difficulty HEARING sounds in another language, English in this case. 

Teaching reading and writing for Speech Emergence English Language Learners must take into account the fact that MEANING is essential to develop reading and writing skills.  Teaching, for example, decoding skills with words that are not meaningful to the students is just like decoding nonsense words.   Thus, KEY to teaching reading and writing skills at this level is the idea of developing listening and speaking skills to build an extensive vocabulary BEFORE reading and writing 




For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net