Celebrating language diversity with student read-alouds


During Book Week, to celebrate the many languages in our class, a home learning task is for each student to bring in a favorite book and read a few pages in his/her mother tongue before giving a brief summary in English. Last year this activity was very successful as students proudly read to the class.

Another idea, inspired by the post, “The Class’s Translator” on https://joriseal.wordpress.com/, but using books, rather than videos,  a student could read a page (or two) of a picture book before asking his/her peers to translate it. Then, the mother tongue reader can translate the page(s) to the class who then check with what they thought was said.

When students are given the opportunity to “show off” their bilingual or multilingual abilities they will not only feel valued but will see themselves as linguistically talented!

adapted from Dr. Jim Cummins, Reykjavik 2015, quoted on https://joriseal.wordpress.com/

Reflecting using Sketchnoting

Reflecting on guest speaker's presentation using sketchnoting - words, images and structure.

Thank you Dana for introducing sketchnoting to the Grade 4s, and to Marty for his informative, entertaining talk about filmmaking.


Using sketchnoting students reflected on the process of filmmaking using the context of The Cyclo Diaries.

To support the students, first they created a word bank together before reviewing some of their previous sketchnoting examples.

We set success criteria: to include the steps of the film making process; to use images, notes and structure. During the process students took a gallery walk to inspire each other.







Buddy Reading with Mother Tongue Partners

Last year and this year during buddy reading time Grade 4 EAL students read English picture books to younger (KG and G1) buddies who shared their mother tongue.

I observed the older EAL students read with growing confidence to their younger EAL buddies. They used their mother tongue when necessary to help explain vocabulary and explain what was happening in the story. They also learned English from their buddies.

I asked the students in the pictures below for their comments. These included:

  • I practiced my language. I helped my buddy understand.
  • Buddy reading helps me get more expression and speaking in Chinese helps my buddy more.
  • She understood more because I explained it. It improved my reading and my explaining skills.
  • She knew a lot of English. She taught me things.