Many children in the U.S. come to school with different home languages. Teaching these children requires some different instructional approaches. Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English teaching strategies are designed to reach English language learners. Keep in mind the developmental level of kindergartners and their need for active learning when selecting SDAIE strategies to use with children of this age.
Activate Prior Knowledge
One important SDAIE strategy to use with kindergartners is activating prior knowledge. Begin with what your child already knows so he can build on that knowledge. Before introducing new information on a topic, ask your child what he knows about it. Encourage him to share experiences that relate to the topic at hand. This also allows you to clear up misconceptions. Further, your child will have something to anchor new knowledge to, which aids in comprehension.
Kindergarten-age English language learners need many opportunities to work with and practice language with their native-English-speaking peers. Having your child work with other children to complete projects or explore new ideas is a useful SDAIE strategy. If your child is reluctant to speak up, she will likely feel more comfortable when working closely with other children. She will get to participate in social language and also hear other children using important vocabulary words in context.
Visuals and Manipulatives
Rely on pictures and manipulatives whenever possible to supplement language. Instead of just describing a concept, use pictures or a demonstration. Your child will begin to match the language with the pictures he sees. Have your child act out concepts to show his understanding. When possible, use manipulatives that he can hold. This is especially helpful in math. Your child can act out math problems and use objects for counting. Also, you can use pictures to explain a concept rather than just words.
Another strategy is to use language carefully and deliberately. Speak clearly and somewhat slowly. It may be necessary to repeat instructions and to pair instructions with pictures or demonstrations. Idioms and figures of speech might be confusing; try to avoid them. Point and use gestures to help accentuate points. In general, talk less and use visuals more. This doesn't mean you should "dumb down" content; just make sure you are being direct and succinct. Frequently check to make sure your child is understanding.
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