3-Step Close Reading for Beginner Readers

& Free ESL Reading Worksheets for Beginners

Fluency Reading Passages for English Learners Cover3

Grab some free fluency readers to use with the 3-step Close Reading methods in this article 🥰.

3-Step Close ESL Reading for Beginners

First: Choose a Text

...you'll need to choose an appropriate text. You'll want ESL reading worksheets or texts that include common sight words and phonics practice but aren't too "babyish."

I know finding texts that have sight words, phonics practice, and are engaging can be hard to find. That's why I started writing this series.

Hopefully, you have grabbed your free pack of engaging and effective ESL reading worksheets for beginners (above). There are lots more inside the ESL Curriculum Membership. These are wonderful for close readings with beginners, and I've written them in a way that students should find enjoyable regardless of their age.

You'll notice that there are words for the students to color at the top of the page (see the example below). (For older students, you can have them highlight the words so that they don't feel like they are coloring.)

Those are Dolch Sight Words. 

These worksheets are packed with them.

You can get students to color (or highlight) the words at the top and then find them in the passage below, coloring them the same color.

There are also usually a word or two with pictures to help students with important words they may not know!

Second: Read 3 Times

...once you have an appropriate text, you're going to have students read the passage 3 times.

You can have them pay attention to different aspects of the text with each reading. 

  1. Find sight words and phonics combinations by coloring them with colored pencils.
  2. Identify and define words you don't know by either drawing pictures of those words or defining them at the side of the page.
  3. Read the text for understanding and answer questions about the text.

With the free Fluency Readers pack, each time a student finishes reading the passage through, you can give them a sticker or a stamp to put in the squares at the bottom of the page.

This is a Close Reading method that is extremely helpful for building reading fluency.

English learners who struggle with reading, especially those who already feel like they are way behind their peers, can be very uninterested and unmotivated to read.

When we build students' reading confidence, we build their interest. When we build their interest, they read more. 

Third: Illustrate

...Students can draw a scene from the story to show that they have understood the meaning of the text.

You can have them attempt a writing response with some scaffolding like sentence stems and/or word banks.

If you need more readers and scaffolding support for your ELLs...

...there are tons of resources connected to these readers in the Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum.

  • More fluency readers.
  • An entire phonics curriculum with units covering related phonics sounds.
  • Speaking pages designed to make teaching speaking easy. 
  • Writing response supports.
  • I think you'll love the membership which is why I'm happy to let you try it out completely free for 2 weeks just so you can see just how great it is.
Mara's Testimonial ESL Curriculum Membership Materials v2.1

The Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum

If you need more, the ESL Curriculum Membership provides teachers with tons of scaffolding resources: 

  • vocabulary visuals
  • leveled texts
  • multiple-choice graphic organizers
  • PWIM writing sheets
  • tiered sentence starters
  • group activity ideas
  • student tracking pages 
  • and more

...all to help you scaffold instruction and make sure students are on track to English fluency.

You can sign up by clicking the button below. 

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