ESOL Rw/E3.5a Use variety of reading strategies to read/understand unfamiliar words

Rw/E3.5a Use a variety of reading strategies to help read and understand an increasing range of unfamiliar words
(i) Use a range of strategies to work out the meaning of unfamiliar words, e.g. knowledge of the overall context, and looking at the words surrounding the unknown word
(ii) Decide how important it is to understand a particular word and use a dictionary as necessary
(iii) Use a variety of strategies to help to read unfamiliar words, e.g. visual, phonic, structural and contextual clues
(iv) Apply knowledge of sound and letter patterns and of structure of words, including compounds, root words, grammatical endings, prefixes, suffixes and syllable divisions, in order to help decode words
(v) Use knowledge of word families to guess the meaning of unknown words
vi) Make use of phonemic transcription in dictionaries to learn the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word

Source: Adult ESOL Core Curriculum (DfES, 2001) 

Update 24/2/22: written by Sharon Roberts and Alexandra Bates, both of Essex ACL. 
This is a fun activity which encourages ESOL learners to engage with digital technology and transacting online. It provides opportunity to explore vocabulary related to shopping while also discussing the advantages of shopping for food online. It can be adapted to all levels and can be extended for a longer activity if required.

Editor's note

Level
Entry Level 1
Entry Level 2
Entry Level 3
English
FE E1.8 Read correctly words designated for Entry Level 1
FE E2.7 Read correctly words designated for Entry Level 2
FE E2.12 Use illustrations, images & captions to locate information
FE E3.8 Read correctly words designated for Entry Level 3
FE E3.12 Understand organisational features & use them to locate relevant information
ESOL
ESOL Rw/E1.1a Recognise a limited number of words, signs and symbols
ESOL Rw/E1.2a Use basic sound-letter correspondence to sound out words
ESOL Rw/E2.2a Recognise a range of familiar words
ESOL Rw/E2.3a Use context & range of phonic / graphic knowledge to decode words
ESOL Rw/E3.1a Recognise and understand relevant specialist key words
ESOL Rw/E3.5a Use variety of reading strategies to read/understand unfamiliar words
ESOL Rt/E2.4a Obtain information from illustrations, maps, diagrams and captions
ESOL Rt/E3.3a Identify the key organisational features of instructional texts
ESOL Rt/E3.5a Locate organisational features, such as contents, index, menus
ICT
Functional Skills ICT: Using ICT
Functional Skills ICT: Finding and selecting information
General
Generic resources for literacy, numeracy and beyond
Context
Independent living
Catering Food Nutrition
Retail Hospitality Customer service

A list of simple sentences, some of which are common sayings. They all contain a word which has more than one meaning. The list can be used to improve vocabulary, and also to show students the importance of context in understanding the meaning of a word. Could be used as a warm-up for a reading lesson.

Level
Entry Level 3
Entry Level 2
English
Reading: word focus (phonics & vocabulary)
Rw/E3.5
Functional English reading
Homophones, homographs & confusables
ESOL
ESOL Reading: word focus (vocabulary, word recognition, phonics)
ESOL Rw/E3.5a Use variety of reading strategies to read/understand unfamiliar words
ESOL Reading: text focus (comprehension)

This is a resource for teaching compound words to mixed ability groups. There are five different word match activities and two help sheets.

I use the first two activities, sports and food, with E1-2 learners. Depending on their ability you can either give the learners both topics at once or give them one at a time to make the activity easier. For very low level students I’d give the learners one topic at a time and a help sheet.

Level
Entry Level 2
Entry Level 3
English
Rw/E3.5
AL Rw/E2.2 Recognise high frequency words & words with common spelling patterns
AL Ww/E3.2 Use phonic knowledge to help spelling
Ww/E2.2
ESOL
ESOL Ww/E3.1a Apply spelling knowledge to a wide range of common & special-interest words
ESOL Rw/E3.5a Use variety of reading strategies to read/understand unfamiliar words
Context
Sport
Catering Food Nutrition

Root word family cards are two sets of flash cards that can be used to visualise the concept of root words to entry level and L1 students.

The entry level cards contain a number of root words and their word families, with a picture representation of each word. The level one sheet contains a higher level of vocabulary and the pictures have been removed.

Lesson Ideas

Level
Entry Level 2
Entry Level 3
Level 1
English
Prefixes, suffixes & plurals
AL Ww/L1.1 Spell & use spelling strategies
Rw/L1.3
Rw/E3.1
AL Rw/E2.2 Recognise high frequency words & words with common spelling patterns
AL Ww/E3.2 Use phonic knowledge to help spelling
Ww/E2.2
ESOL
ESOL Ww/L1.1a Apply knowledge about vocabulary to aid accurate spelling
ESOL Ww/E3.1a Apply spelling knowledge to a wide range of common & special-interest words
ESOL Ww/E2.1b
ESOL Rw/L1.3a Recognise and understand an increasing range of vocabulary
ESOL Rw/L1.1a Use reference material to find the meaning of unfamiliar words
ESOL Rw/E3.5a Use variety of reading strategies to read/understand unfamiliar words
ESOL Rw/E3.1a Recognise and understand relevant specialist key words
ESOL Rw/E2.3a Use context & range of phonic / graphic knowledge to decode words

This is a card game that tests students understanding and knowledge of root words. The game can be played as a whole class or in small groups but works best if the tutor sits in on the game in order to support the students and question their answers.

There are 12 cards in the pack which includes a variety of questions including true or false and spot the root word.

Level
Entry Level 3
Entry Level 2
English
Rw/E3.5
AL Rw/E2.2 Recognise high frequency words & words with common spelling patterns
ESOL
ESOL Rw/E3.5a Use variety of reading strategies to read/understand unfamiliar words
ESOL Rw/E2.3a Use context & range of phonic / graphic knowledge to decode words

A very useful set of flashcards (with teaching ideas) and accompanying worksheet to help learners decode words with the three different ‘ch’ phonemes (e.g. as in stomach, pinch and chef). For E3 Literacy/ESOL.

Level
Entry Level 3
English
Rw/E3.5
ESOL
ESOL Rw/E3.5a Use variety of reading strategies to read/understand unfamiliar words