Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP Model

I received the book Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners as a result of completing the training to be a SIOP qualified teacher. The book itself outlines the SIOP model, a research based model to support English Language Learners or as they are called in the UK EAL learners.

The book takes you through the model for implementing best practice for EAL learners and there are a number of strategies and approaches that can be taken from reading the book. With 12 chapters in total it is jam packed full of ideas that we can all use to ensure that we are meeting the needs of EAL learners in our classrooms. Each chapter outlines the one of the 30 SIOP features to teaching EAL learners, gives teaching ideas for preparing lessons related to the different SIOP features, ideas of how to differentiate for multilevel classes, lessons scenarios which you get to rate in terms of how far a teacher met the features that were being used and discussion of the lessons and how far they went to meeting the SIOP components. It is always good to look at how different lessons are planned and delivered and the scenarios do give you an opportunity to see how teachers go about implementing the SIOP model in their lessons.  The are some insightful comments of how each teacher has used the different features and what they could do to make their lesson even better.

One of the key features of a SIOP lesson is that content and language objectives play a vital role in the planning and preparation of lessons for EAL learners. Chapter 2 outlines how this can be done. This chapter does give you some examples of how to write content and language objectives but it would have been good to have more comprehensive examples of content and language objectives applied to a wider range of lessons or subjects.

Although it is quite expensive costing around £45 in UK it is worth the investment if you are looking at how to support EAL learners in your classrooms. The book contains a range of strategies and approaches to supporting EAL learners in your classrooms and these are extremely practical and can be applied to a range of subject areas. For instance, chapter 5 is all about strategies and techniques that you can use with your EAL learners. Strategies that include scaffolding techniques, learning strategies and differentiating for multilevel proficiencies in your classrooms.  I have used a range of these strategies in my own practice and have found them to be extremely beneficial to my EAL learners.

Included in my book was online access to a PD toolkit for SIOP teachers created by the authors and this is another resource that can enhance your teaching of EAL learners.

If you are being asked to observe and feedback on how teachers delivered lessons for EAL learners the SIOP rubric is a useful tool to use as it gives you ready made features that you could use in lesson observations. 

Although, the SIOP model has been created for teachers in the USA I believe that almost all of the features can be applied to any context in any country. 

With a range of practical strategies and approaches to supporting EAL learners, the book is well worth investing in if you are serious about supporting EAL learners in your classroom. 

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