Google Read & Write for ELL Learners

From time to time, Inquire & Inspire features guest bloggers, providing an opportunity for others to share their experience and expertise. Today's post features Angela Reid, author of the blog ReidAboutELL

Google Read and Write for ELL Learners
Google’s Chrome Extension Read and Write for Google Docs is an incredibly useful tool for English Language Learners. It is effective and practical for ELL students to use when involved in reading and writing activities in all subject areas. This post will focus strictly on supports used while reading.

First and foremost, the ToolBar is visible and user friendly.
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Once the Google Read & Write toolbar has been added to Google Docs students are able to access it very easily. The pictures are user friendly and when the mouse is hovered over the icon, a reminder definition is provided.

Great tools for reading

This icon represents dictionary. Students are able to be provided with a definition of an unfamiliar term in seconds after highlighting a word.

picture dictionary.JPG   

This icon represents picture dictionary. Students are given a pictorial representation of a word after being highlighted.
picture dictionary1.JPG

These icons represent play, stop and pause. Students are able to have the text read to them.
The translator icon provides English to Spanish translations of words. This has not been extremely useful with my current students. Nonetheless, it can be for those whose first language is Spanish.

These icons represent highlighting tools in various colours. Students could use these tools to highlight key words in a text. My ELL students have used the highlighting tools when creating vocabulary lists they refer to while reading which is explained below.
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*Taken from News In Levels

The vocabulary icon creates a list students are able to refer to with word and picture definitions. There is also room for students to include notes or direct translations of words. After highlighting words, click on the icon and you will see notification in the right hand corner of your screen indicating a list is in progress.
vocab list.JPG

Most Stage 1 and 2 ELL learners frequently seek definitions of words or clarification of terms while reading. For the most part, students use the picture dictionary tool rather than the word definition as the visuals are easier to understand. Other student favourites include the play, stop and pause tools. These icons are effective in delivering audio reinforcement of text words critical in building comprehension of text. Most recently, students have been creating vocabulary lists using the highlighting and vocabulary icons. Creating such detailed vocabulary lists will further develop their growing academic language.
All in all I would highly recommend the Google Read & Write Chrome extension to ELL learners in your classroom. It provides an array of benefits and proves to be practical for students.

Angela Reid is currently teaching ELL at Teston Village Public School in Maple, Ontario. Angela has always been passionate about learning and teaching language.  Prior to attending Teachers College, Angela obtained a Teaching English as A Second Language Certificate from the University of Toronto. After completing her Bachelor of Ed , she began her career as a French Teacher. She has extensive experience teaching in the French Immersion classroom as well as in the Core French and in mainstream classrooms at all levels. Angela recognizes the impact of technology and embraces its benefits while supporting her ELL students.

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  1. Nowadays, it is very fortunate as an English learner in school.
    I was not that lucky when I was learning English in Taiwan. I did not have these Google Tools to help me, and I had to plow through all the hardship in school. I am pleased not to give up learning English with all the dire situation in my schooling.
    As a language teacher, I know the difficulty of learning another language intuitively. I always put myself into my students' shoes, because I have been there and I have done that before.



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