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Lesson Plan

When I Was Young In...A Literature to Language Experience

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 40- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Virginia Stelk

Peaks Island, Maine


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



English-language learners (ELLs) are best served when provided with the same authentic literacy experiences as their English-speaking peers. Aimed at ELLs and also appropriate for students in third through fifth grades, this lesson will help all students develop an understanding of the experiences students bring from their native communities. A read-aloud of When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant triggers memories and helps students discover the appropriate use of the past tense. Students then explore the story further by researching the author before writing and sharing their own stories based on the same format.

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Flip Book: Writing and publishing their own stories is a breeze when students use this interactive online tool.

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Mohr, K.A.J. (2004). English as an accelerated language: A call to action for reading teachers. The Reading Teacher, 58(1), 1826.

  • English-language learners (ELLs) are best served by accelerated language instruction in both the context of the regular classroom and during sessions with ESL teachers. Teachers should have the same expectations of ELLs as of other students, but should scaffold their learning and differentiate their activities to give them the support they need.

  • Lessons for ELLs should be literature based to provide them with information, language patterns, and vocabulary; facilitate the enjoyment of literature; and give opportunities for conversations.

  • ELLs should be expected to use English in relevant and grammatically correct ways.

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