Part 2: Resource-Rich Class, Session 7

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Lecture Guide for Session 7
[MS Word]


Creating a Resource-Rich Classroom

Session 7 – June 16, 2006

Focus on Reading

Cindy Kieffer, University of Oregon
Linguistics Department, American English Institute
Email: or use Contact web page.

Leslie Opp-Beckman, University of Oregon
Linguistics Department, American English Institute
Email: or use the Contact web page.

About the Speakers

Cynthia Kieffer is the Director of Academic Programs and Research at the American English Institute, University of Oregon. She has many years of experience teaching in classrooms with students of all ages, as well as ongoing administrative experience as a supervisor and trainer for English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) educators.

Leslie Opp-Beckman is a Senior Instructor in the MA Language Teaching Specialization program for the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon. She also develops online training, teaches courses, and acts as Technology Coordinator for the American English Institute.


This is the seventh session in the 2005-06 professional development series for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) educators in Thailand. It is the second of five sessions in Part II on “Creating a Resource-Rich Classroom.” University of Oregon is partnering with the US Embassy in Bangkok, the Royal Thai Distance Learning Foundation, the Ministry of Education, colleagues at Chulalongkorn University, and at ThaiTESOL on this innovative and exciting project.

This session looks at more ideas for obtaining low cost reading materials and building collections of reading materials. This, combined with techniques such as Silent Sustained Reading (SSR)” or “Drop Everything and Read (DEAR)” and “Readers Theater” can help create a reading-rich environment that supports English language literacy development.

Online Teacher Resources

To develop language competence, students benefit from being exposed to as many resources as possible in the target language. The focus for Part II is on creating a “resource-rich” classroom that supports the development of literacy skills in English. Following are some key resources in support of the Part II sessions.

  1. Silent Sustained Reading (SSR)
    Some people call it Sustained Silent Reading, or SSR for short. Others call it recreational reading or independent reading. Some have clever acronyms for it, such as DIRT (Daily Independent Reading Time) or DEAR (Drop Everything and Read). Whatever it’s called, teachers set aside a block of time each day–usually anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, depending on the grade level and the ability of the students–for quiet reading.Drop Everything and Read (DEAR)
    An overview of how the DEAR process works in class plus a sample Reading Portfolio Form [PDF format].
  2. Book Discussion Groups and Literature Circles
    “Toolkits” with an overview, sample lessons, and videos from the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning. Also see “Story and Literature Dramatizations” and “Writing” ideas on the same site.
  3. Readers Theater
    Reader’s theater is minimal theater in support of literature and reading. (Also called “Story and Literature Dramatizations” as in the previous resource.) There are many styles of reader’s theater, but nearly all share these features:
    • Narration serves as the framework of dramatic presentation.
    • Scripts are used openly in performance (no full memorization).
    • No full stage sets. If used at all, sets are simple and suggestive.
    • No full costumes. If used at all, costumes are partial and suggestive, or neutral and uniform.For additional tips, see: RT Tips and Readers Theater for Bilingual/ESL Students.For sample scripts, see Aaron Shepard’s Reader’s Theater Editions (you don’t have to buy the books, you can get free scripts online).For a directory of additional resources, see Literacy Connections: Readers’ Theater.If you would like to receive regular email newsletters on this topic, visit Readers Theatre Digest and sign up for this free service.
  4. Authentic Materials
    A web guide for ESOL educators on ideas for finding and using authentic materials, including free readings.

Review: Discussion Questions and Classroom Applications

  1. Using a topic or theme from your curriculum, choose one of the above techniques and identify a set of resources with which you can use it.
  2. As with the previous session, please bring multiple sets of materials if you would like to participate in the materials “swap” or exchange.