Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Text Complexity in Foreign Languages

As we know, beginning learners of a second language cannot likely read at the same lexile level as their native language.  We cannot simply place a foreign text in front of a student and think that "Google Translate" is an appropriate learning strategy for when students do not understand.

We must take into account many factors:
  • embedding background knowledge (embed high frequency vocabulary)
  • number of new vocabulary encountered within the text (not so many that it distracts from understanding)
  • scaffold the text
    • consider tiering the text by 3 levels
      • basic information (simple sentences)
      • basic information plus a couple of more details (a few complex sentences)
      • basic information, more details & more details! (mostly complex sentences)
Below is a Diigo List I created of articles related to learning strategies specific to reading and vocabulary for foreign language learning.  This pairs well with Common Core & Text Complexity.  It is imperative we scaffold reading and embed learning strategies within our lessons in order to best support reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition for foreign language students (click HERE for my post on scaffolding).  Not only will tackling text complexity in foreign languages help foster language learning, but it will extend to supporting text complexity for Common Core as well.