Page 17 - FIS World December 2020
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 it: “When there are no words, you can think more ideas. I am learning English, but I am thinking, too.”
Wordless stories are generally rich texts, because they tell the whole story without words, including emo- tions, character traits, meanings and themes. FISW Middle School English teacher Scott Hardgrove, who recently used a wordless book in a Grade 6 poetry unit, points out: “Even wordless books that seem to be meant for younger students contain a lot of sym- bolism. The ‘readers’ need to understand and inter- pret the text structure, symbolism, open endings,” he says. For this they use the same processes in the brain as they do with normal texts. In non-fiction pieces, too, they need to explore and “reread” to un- derstand what is going on.
Ms.Uhl adds: “Wordless stories are evenly accessible and comprehensible for all students. They provide built-in differentiation possibilities for language and thinking skills.” In other words, they create a level playing field in our multilingual classrooms with mixed proficiencies.
Wordless stories are generally rich texts, because they tell the whole story without words, including emotions, character traits, meanings and themes.
Visuals as a support in learning as well as word- less books are seen regularly in the lower grades, but they are just as valuable in the higher grades of Elementary school and Middle and Upper school, ac- cording to Soledad Chinchilla, FISW English Language Acquisition (ELA) and Spanish teacher. Megan Dreher, who teaches ELA, often uses wordless books to make connections with the units in the homerooms, with sentence starters for the beginner English language learners. “They are excellent for universal design for learning and also easy to use in distance learning. I have developed an addiction, there are so many beautiful wordless books and videos.”
In the meantime, Jenny chose to use wordless sto- ries in her Grade 5 Exhibition project and discovered another advantage: “Because there are no words, the people cannot read, so they have to listen to me.” The stories may be wordless, but the students are less and less speechless.
Renske Oort
FISW teacher and Student Learning Coach
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