All teachers need to develop children’s knowledge of academic literacy in different curriculum areas so that they can interpret written text. Academic literacy can be defined as children’s ability to understand higher order ‘textual’ language in order to access the curriculum and the learning that accompanies it. Using my experience of working with EAL (English as an additional language) children, I argue that emergent bilinguals can achieve a deeper understanding of the texts through negotiation with each other and sharing personal experiences. Using three case studies of Year 2 EAL students in an English primary school, I analyse and describe the children’s interactions with books. The students skilfully bring their ‘outside the classroom knowledge and experiences’ into their conversations about books and the characters in them. This is defined by Rosenblatt (2005) as the ‘transactional approach’. Starting with vocabulary, ‘shared talk’ acts as a means to generate meaning from a text, taking into account the readers’ cultural backgrounds. Gregory (2008) describes this as the ‘Inside-Out’ approach.
Maude, K. (2019). Encouraging reading comprehension in learners of English as an additional language