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HON 381 (Tischio)

A research guide on picking and using children's books for a recorded ELL lesson

Criteria for selecting a book for an English language lesson

  • Illustrations match text and they support each other

  • Appropriate vocabulary for level of students

  • Book content and/or illustrations are not too simple for the age group

  • Simple, direct text, with not too many words per page.  Repetition is good

  • Natural English (avoid rhymes, idioms, wordplay)

  • Abstract concepts are explained by text and illustrations

  • Avoid books portraying stereotypes/caricatures (either in text or in images)

Relevant call number ranges

796 = sports

590-599 = animals

  • 500-509 General books on animals
  • 597 Cold-blooded vertebrates and fishes
  • 598 Birds
  • 599 Mammals

398.2 = folk tales from different cultures

This tip sheet shows the steps of searching for children's books.  

Lesson planning steps

  1. Choose a book that you find engaging and meets the criteria for English language learners
  2. Identify goals students will achieve during lesson based on the book
  3. Plan what context to provide to students before you read the book
  4. Prepare a question or two to prompt discussion after students watch the recorded read aloud

Lesson planning tools

Example lesson plan

  1. Learning goal: Students will improve vocabulary and English comprehension while learning more about an American sport
  2. Context: Briefly explain baseball as a team sport played professionally and by children in the United States. New English words they may encounter include:
    1. Stadium: A place for people to watch professional baseball games.
    2. Mound and bases: In baseball, one member of a team throws a ball from the mound to a member of the other team who tries to hit it with a bat. After hitting the ball, the hitter then must run to all of the four bases around the baseball field.
    3. Inning: Baseball is played in separate rounds, called innings, similar to periods in soccer.
  3. Reading: Read the story slowly, enunciating each word. Be sure to allow time for the students to see the corresponding pictures for each page.
  4. Discussion: How does baseball compare to sporting events you've attended?

Example read aloud video

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