Story setup: Pre-reading strategies for comprehension

These pre-reading strategies will help lay the groundwork for ELLs before tackling a new text. Strategies include previewing vocabulary, activating background knowledge, and introducing academic concepts (such as literary elements) important to the text in an ELL-friendly way.

Teacher: Michelle Lawrence Biggar
Grade: 9-12
School Name: High School, Buffalo, NY

Story setup: Pre-reading strategies for comprehension

Learn about pre-reading strategies that will lay the groundwork before ELLs tackle a new text -- in this case, A Christmas Carol.  To see more videos from Michelle Lawrence Biggar's classroom and a reflection interview, take a look at her Meet the Expert page!

This video is part of our Watch & Learn series, made possible by the American Federation of Teachers.

Lesson Summary

Michelle Lawrence Biggar has been an ESL teacher for the past ten years. She has worked with students of all ages, proficiency levels, and backgrounds, but has spent the majority of her career teaching ELLs at the high school and college levels. Michelle currently teaches at the International Preparatory School at Grover — A College Board School — in Buffalo, NY. Her students are primarily refugees and immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She serves as a consultant to administration and to content area teachers on best practices for ELLs.

As a chairperson on her school's Redesign Committee, Michelle presented plans to the New York State Board of Regents on how to restructure the ELL program, which included a focus on small learning communities. When her current school was conceived four years ago, she led the design and implementation of the school's ELL program. Michelle also teaches at the English Language Institute at the University at Buffalo.