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Citation: Porcelli, Alison & Tyler, Cheryl. (2008). A Quick Guide to Boosting English Acquisition in Choice Time, K-2. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Title: A Quick Guide to Boosting English Acquisition, K-2
Year: 2008
Publisher: Heinemann
City: Portsmouth, NH
Medium: Book
Author(s): Porcelli, Alison
Tyler, Cheryl
Grades: Kindergarten to Second Grade
Categories: Modifying the Classroom Environment for English Language Learners
Annotation: If you have English language learners in your primary classroom and want a brief overview of current research and some quick tips for meeting the needs of these kids, this pocket-size book might be a great starting place. This little book is part of the "Workshop Help Desk" from the group at the Teachers College Reading/Writing Project in New York. Alison Porcelli and Cheryl Tyler make the assumption that teacher-readers are already using a reading/writing workshop approach. They explain how an additional “choice time workshop” can provide a structure in which ELLs can develop oral language skills, as well as reading and writing skills, in a socially supportive context. They believe that all children need opportunities to work with blocks, experiment with art materials, and participate in dramatic play. This is particularly important for ELL students, because these social interactions and concrete materials provide the support they need to communicate and strengthen their vocabulary.

Alison and Cheryl present a framework for a choice time workshop where students work and play for several days during choice workshop. What’s different from the choice time often provided in primary grades is that teachers confer with students and provide explicit instruction for the skills and strategies that children use. Choice time workshop follows a structure similar to reading/writing workshop: a five-minute minilesson, twenty-five to thirty-five minutes spent working independently, and five minutes for “teaching share.” Alison and Cheryl incorporate between four and six units of study for choice time during the year, with units such as “Planning and Pursuing Collaborative Projects” “Story Play,” “Planning and Inventing Interest-Based Projects.” The authors describe the first two of these units in detail. One of the gems in this tiny book is the chart on page 14 in which the authors describe the five levels of English Language Proficiency. There’s another helpful chart on page 21 where they show how choice time workshop units can fit with units of study in reading and writing workshop. This little book can be read in an hour and would be a perfect book study for primary teachers. The whole notion of choice workshop is delightful, developmentally appropriate, and pedagogically sound.