Welcome to CISM

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Importance of Reading (ESL Reading Comprehension)


Reading is the most basic skill to learn when trying to master English. Once you can read, you can read more and learn more, and therefore continue to learn more.

Once you can read you can see how English is written, see the structure and see the grammar that is used, so by learning to read you will open up many areas of English to learn in the future.

What is Needed for ESL Reading Comprehension


To become successful at ESL reading comprehension you need to practice. You need to learn vocabulary and remember it so that when you see the word in a passage you know what it means.

There are two ways to do this. The first is to start reading and then look up each word that you do not know in a dictionary. When doing this you should write the words down in a list with a definition so that you can revise them and make sure you remember them.

The other way is to learn vocabulary from vocabulary lists or flashcards. Then when you see the word in a reading comprehension you will know it already. Both methods are good and will help you become better at understanding English during reading exercises or activities.


Reading Comprehension Tips

  • As with learning anything, the best way to get better is to practice. This means that you should read and understand as much as possible.
  • Read about topics that interest you. Any reading practice will be beneficial.
  • However, also read about a wide range of topics as this will mean you improve your vocabulary more.
  • Read often, if possible everyday.
  • Make lists of new words and spend time learning all this new vocabulary.
  • Chose reading passages that are just right. This means that if it is too easy you will not be learning anything new and if it is too hard you will find it difficult and also not learn as well as you could.
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Source: https://www.excellentesl4u.com/esl-reading-comprehension.html

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How Parents Can Help Their ESL Children Learn English

Parents helping their ESL children learn English is a multi-faceted process. Small steps combine to create an eager and capable student.

Understand the Importance of English
Parents must first understand and believe in the importance of English language skills. Children are adept at picking up on parental attitudes. If children realize the adults in their lives don’t think learning English is important, they will be less likely to approach the subject with a positive attitude.



Prepare Children for School
In many ways, parents can help their children learn English by ensuring they’re well-prepared for school in general. This can include:

Setting aside a time and place for homework
Having resources available such as pens, paper, and dictionaries
Being willing to answer questions about homework when possible
Asking about their school day and listening to concerns
Ensuring they eat a healthy breakfast before school
Encouraging them to get a good night’s sleep

Communicate with Teachers
Talking to teachers and other school personnel can be intimidating for parents of ESL students, especially if they aren’t comfortable with their own English skills. However, teachers can be invaluable partners in helping children reach their full potential. In addition to reporting on a student’s overall progress, teachers may be able to suggest the best methods for practicing English at home and point parents to helpful resources.

Parents who are unable to speak to a teacher in English should investigate whether the district or a community program offers translators or ask a fluent friend or family member for assistance.


Model Learning
One of the greatest ways for parents to help their children learn English is by attempting to learn English themselves. When parents are able to use English at home, more opportunities will arise for children to practice speaking and listening. Parents and children practicing their new skills together can be a great motivator.

Even parents who are fluent in English can demonstrate the importance of learning by focusing on an area of improvement, such as studying a difficult novel to learn complex vocabulary or bettering their writing skills.

Portrait of teacher with elementary school girl at her desk

Read Regularly
Reading is an invaluable skill that only improves with practice. Parents can help by providing access to books and reading aloud to their children.

While it’s important to practice reading in the target language, not every book must be in English. Reading in their native language can help students preserve their culture while also improving their overall reading fluency. Students who read well in another language are more likely to experience success in English literacy.

No matter what their background or personal English abilities, by making a dedicated effort to promote English language learning, parents of ESL students can be the key to a child’s success.


Source: http://esl.yourdictionary.com/about-esl/how-parents-help-their-esl-children-learn-english.html

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Why Accommodate?

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”      -   Ignacio Estrada


One of the greatest challenges for teachers is to be able to address the wide range of learning needs of all students and at the same time move them toward high levels of achievement. It can be challenging to educators to ensure that all students, including English Language Learners, have equal access to grade-level academic content. Accommodations provided during instruction and assessment promotes equal access to grade-level content for these students.



Who are English Language Learners or English as an Additional Language students?

English Language Learners (ELL) or English as an Additional Language (EAL) students are students whose first language is other than English. Even though these students are classified as a general group, it does not mean that each student can be understood in the same way. Each ELL student is different and requires different accommodations and cultural awareness. Therefore it is important as a teacher to discover these backgrounds as best as possible in order to better understand each learner.


What are accommodations?

Accommodations are practices and procedures that provide equitable access to grade-level content. Accommodations are intended to reduce or eliminate the effects of a student’s disability or a student’s limited English proficiency. They do not reduce learning expectations. They do not change the content or the required skill level of an activity, lesson, or test.


Why Accommodate?

English language learners must receive accommodations:

1. to help them understand the content

2. to help them complete assignments

3. to help them improve their English

4. to help them feel included and comfortable

The key to helping the student understand the content and engage is by using teaching strategies and learning resources that make content comprehensible.


What types of accommodations should I use for ELL students in my classroom?




Generally speaking, accommodations that are helpful for ELL students are usually helpful for all students.  With this in mind it is important to remember that many of the accommodations that can be made for ELL students can be applied when differentiating for student needs on a regular basis.  Below are just a few examples of classroom accommodations for ELL students.

General classroom accommodations

  • Use a variety of instruction and assessment strategies
  • Use cooperative group learning- reciprocal teaching, learning circles
  • Use visuals during instruction and accompany print material with visuals for clarification and explanation
  • Allow partner work
  • Explicitly instruct different types of learning strategies
  • Follow predictable routines in order to create an environment of security and stability especially for students new to the language and culture
  • Involve students’ culture and family in school events and projects
  • Create a sense of belonging for EVERY student in the class

Specific classroom accommodations

  • Find alternate ways for students to respond. To demonstrate knowledge, students can draw pictures with captions or speak their  responses instead of writing.
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  • Prepare and distribute advance notes. This gives students opportunity to preview what will be taught and, in turn, aids in comprehension of the material.
  • Give extended time. Students may require more time to process and communicate information. Giving them extra time will help lessen anxiety, which often has a significant impact on performance.



  • Provide a model or demonstration of required/expected written or oral responses. Modelling and using gestures to aid in understanding can be a very effective accommodation for students.
  • Simplify written and verbal instructions. This can be easily done by taking out extra words or turning complex sentences into simple ones. Consider these directions:

                 Carefully read each sentence below and determine its subject and predicate.                         Then, underline the subject once and the predicate twice.

                 These directions can be easily changed to this simpler version:

                Read each sentence. Put one line under the subject. Put two lines under the                             predicate.

               These simple changes require minimal effort and time, but actually do make a                       huge difference for students.

  • Provide frequent breaks. Learning can be hard work for students learning a new language. They need more frequent breaks than others so that they can perform at their best.


Are there any specific management strategies I should consider for ELL students?

There is no “one-size-fits all” magic formula for classroom management—every classroom situation is different, just as each student is relatively unique. Teachers really need to become aware and sensitive to cultural differences. The following is a short list of strategies toward better classroom management processes when teaching ELL students:

Strategy #1:  Learn your students’ names as fast as possible.

Not only will students quickly respond to hearing their names, but they will also recognize that you acknowledge them. In some cases it may be very difficult to quickly get to know all your students’ names. You need to familiarize yourself with the subtlety of pronunciation and intonation sometimes.  You need to make some effort to increase your effectiveness as a classroom teacher and manager.

Strategy #2:  Get to know your students as individuals

Build rapport with your students by making a brief, personal conversation every now and then in and out of the class. Generally, if students like you, they may be more inclined to follow directions, participate and behave.

Strategy #3: Gauge your language according to a student’s level. 

It is really important that teachers learn to communicate with a level of English their students can understand. You will need to constantly simplify the vocabulary, avoid complex sentences, cut out idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs (replacing them with more direct forms of expression) and, most importantly, speak clearly and slowly.

Students will quickly lose interest in classes when they don’t understand what the teacher is talking about.  They will lose focus and become a distraction; which makes it so vital to maintain a comprehensible level of language and to develop a sense for when others don’t understand you. Don’t assume they understand something just because it seems simple to you. Simplify it.

Strategy #4:  Provide clear directions and transparent assessment criteria

Students should always comprehend directions, explanations, or assessments. It’s always best to keep things as clear and simple as possible when relaying important information about grade criteria, directions, rules, and so forth. Problems may later stem from confusion—which is difficult to anticipate or control—but can be avoided.

Strategy #5:  Construct lessons plans that are active, diverse, engaging and relatable.

When students aren’t engaged and interested in the lessons or don’t understand the relevance of a task, they will become restless. Aim to create lesson plans that have clear learning objectives but that are fun, fresh and dynamic.  Students prefer active rather than passive learning, where students are up on their feet and talking with each other.

Strategy #6:  Be consistent with rules and processes

Students do appreciate routine and structure to classes. Students like to know what is expected of them and they respond well to activities and lines of questioning and inquiry that they’ve had some familiarity with in the past. It’s really essential to create an environment where students have a clear path to success.








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English Language Learner in the Classroom

 Learning a language is to understand others, to form connections.”                         - Anonymous


Many classroom teachers have little or no experience in teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL). At first, the task these EAL learners face in learning English may be  overwhelming to the students and their teachers. However there are some guides for helping newly arrived EAL students to settle in. There are also many practical strategies and ideas for use during their first few weeks in mainstream classroom settings.

For this post, our target group is EY/ES EAL students. But there are some strategies that would be appropriate for secondary students, too.


Welcoming the new student

Try to put your students at ease by providing a warm welcome.



It is really important that classroom teachers know about the language and learning background of new students. They should find out how much schooling a new student has had in the country of origin and the literacy level in their first language and in any other language in which the student may have been taught. Competency in English is not the same as cognitive ability or development.

Placing Students

New students are eligible to attend an English language program if they speak a home language that is not English and require intensive instruction in EAL. For this reason, they require additional services in order to develop their individual potential to be successful with the school curriculum.

Settling in

New students may not immediately start to use the English language. There is likely to be a period in which new students prefer to watch and listen. This is a natural and understandable response to a new situation and new language. Never force oral communication.

It is important, however, to get some form of communication going. Don’t be concerned if it’s non-verbal. The important thing is that both the teacher and the student are communicating. To get the message across, you can use:

  • gestures
  • miming
  • sketches
  • pictures
  • illustrations



  •  Value and accept all attempts by your student to communicate. Respond to the content of the communication, not the form.
  • By responding in this way, you will provide positive and encouraging feedback and correction, and value your student’s attempts to communicate.
  • In any communicative interaction, your student will need thinking time to comprehend and then formulate a response.
  • Remember, your student will understand more English than can be produced.

understand but can produced english

  • Part of the process in both first and second language leaning involves hypothesizing the rules and structures of a language. Second language learners formulate rules for themselves in a way that makes sense to them. Any errors should be supported and not labelled as incorrect. They indicate that learning is taking place. Provide positive and encouraging feedback and modelling. For example:

language errors

  •  Learning a new language is a long-term developmental process, and it is likely to take from five to seven years for a student to become fully proficient in English. The rate of learning will vary depending on student’s age, educational background, self-confidence, and previous teaching and learning styles.
  • Try to avoid cultural misunderstandings by familiarizing yourself with possible areas of misinterpretation. For example, in some cultures it is disrespectful to make eye contact with teachers, or speak unless spoken to.

cultural difference

  • Don’t assume a student is at the same stage of conceptual development as the other students in the class. Variations may occur due to different school starting age and differences in the curriculum at their former school.
  • Some parents/guardians may also be learning English, so may be able to assist their child as they learn English together. Encourage them to continue language development at home and assist their child with English when they are able to do so.

Teacher Talk

You can help your new EAL student by observing the following points when speaking to them and the class as a whole:

  • Speak at a normal pace. Don’t speak too quickly or loudly.
  • Use clear, common, consistent instructions and repeat if necessary.
  • Don’t use jargon and colloquialisms.

use of jargon

  • Use verbal cues and gestures to support talk.
  • Don’t overwhelm student with too much talk. Speeches and long-winded explanations with no non-verbal clues can confuse and discourage students who are struggling to understand, causing them to ‘tune out.’
  • Reinforce your oral instructions in writing where appropriate. This helps your student to see as well as hear the new language.
  • Ask real questions and expect real answers.

Involve Other Students

Most of the activities that your EAL student is involved in should be shared with other students. This will promote English language learning and help friendships to develop. By doing some of the following activities, you will acknowledge your new student’s language and culture while helping the rest of the class react positively to the new student’s situation and culture:

  • Teach some simple greetings in your new student’s first language to the other students.
  • Establish a buddy system within the class to help settle in the new student.
  • Encourage all students to share the responsibility of helping the new student settle in.

activities promote cultural acceptance

A new student will be desperate to communicate. If language learners can’t express themselves as well as they would in their native language, teachers should not mistake a lack of language for a lack of intelligence or maturity. Instead, they should make a conscious effort to see past the accent and mispronunciations and treat every interaction – every student – with the respect they deserve. English language learners are brilliant kids; they just can’t tell us in English yet.







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Dear Parents,

Welcome to CISM!

I am Corinna Montemayor and I will be your child’s EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher this year. I graduated from University of Asia & the Pacific with a degree in Early Childhood Education and earned my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate through Bridge TEFL, an online program that is recognized by the US Department of Education.

CISM offers the EAL Program as part of its commitment to provide equitable learning opportunities to students with various cultural beginnings. It aims to provide additional services to English language learners whose primary language is not English, in order to develop their individual potential to besuccessful with the school curriculum.

Prior to teaching in CISM, I was based in the US and taught students from Pre-K to Kindergarten. Being exposed to children from all over the world not only taught me about different cultures but also taught me how to handle different learning styles. I believe that each child should learn at his own pace with proper guidance of his teacher. That being said, I will make sure to provide meaningful, relevant and fun activities for your child and take note of his learning style and pacing.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You may email me at cmontemayor@cismanila.org, send me a note via your child’s homework notebook, or set an appointment through the school office (at 02 798 00 11)

I look forward to a wonderful year of learning and growing.


Corinna Dizon Montemayor

EAL Teacher


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Welcome to EAL SY 2018-2019

August 1, 2018

Dear Parents,

Welcome to CISM!

I am Mrs. Marissa Reyes and I will be your child’s EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher. CISM offers the EAL Program as part of its commitment to provide equitable learning opportunities to students with various cultural beginnings. It aims to provide additional services to English language learners whose primary language is not English in order to develop their individual potential to be successful with the school curriculum.

I would like to give you a brief background of myself. I graduated from UP Diliman with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, major in English. I also earned units in Master of Educational Administration in the said university. I have been teaching English for 18 years. Furthermore, I was the head of the ESL (English as a Second Language) program in the previous school where I used to teach. I am a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified. This is my third year in Chinese International School Manila.

I am very excited to teach your child and work in partnership with you in developing the potential of your child. This year will be filled with engaging activities for learning and growing. As a teacher, I have a strong desire to foster a cohesive learning atmosphere. I assure you that our classroom will be a place where your child can learn, feel safe, and have fun.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You may email me at mreyes@cismanila.org, send me a note via your child’s homework notebook, or set an appointment through the school office (at 02 7980011).

I look forward to meeting you soon and may we work together to make this school year a meaningful one.


Best regards,

Marissa S. Reyes
EAL Specialist


  • http://www.deped.gov.ph/