Last week, one of the teachers has asked me to read with one of our ELL students to get somebody's insights and to start our conversation about how to best help this child. Yes, there are some concerns and sometimes it takes more than one person working with a child to figure things out. He has been learning English for a a little over a year and a half now. His oral production is still very limited.
As we are reading together, I've noticed that his eyes wondered around the room many times. He would pause in the middle of the book and stare. He would disconnect often and then come back to me, to our book, to what we were doing. I redirected him a couple of times so he can continue reading. I was taking a running record on his reading. After several redirections, I just looked at this child and said, "what are you thinking?" He looked at me surprised I asked him that question. The next words that come out of his mouth were amazing. He gave me two complete sentences in English predicting what will happen next and he shared a question he had. Simple. Yet amazing. According to the teachers that worked with him, when asked to make predictions, he wouldn't say anything. But a simple question, "What are you thinking?" allowed me to get in his brain for those short minutes. It enabled me to understand him deeper before he disconnected from me again. It was such a powerful insight.
Thank you little one. You taught me today that instead of redirecting you when you are drifting, I could ask you a simple question that allows me to understand you better. There might be days when you will not say much to me and I'll understand. I'll wait for you. You lead the way. Thank you dear. I needed that lesson.