Today we’re excited to introduce Jill Eisenberg, our new Resident Literacy Expert! Jill began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
When I taught third grade literacy in San Jose, CA, nearly 85% of my students were English Language Learners and English was not the primary language spoken at home, if at all. The school day was the main source of English exposure and I, like many other teachers in similar communities, felt it was up to my colleagues and me to pack as much English instruction into the school day to make up for the time away from English at home. Many classrooms across the U.S. face similar demographics and teachers know how critical it is to create an English language-rich environment in order to maximize student interaction and practice with the language.