Once your kids can do basic conversations and phonics, the next step is
to learn to read. As the old saying goes, you first learn to read, then
you can read to learn. The trick of course is finding material of a suitable
level. Whilst it might be cool to start off with Harry Potter, the kids
would pretty soon find it too hard and give up!
What you needed is a series of "graded readers" where new language is gradually introduced over a series of books. There are quite a few of these on the market, but one I would certainly recommend is the Macmillan Language House "Springboard" series. Why? Basically it's because they're not just great readers with cool stories, but each book has the audio and Teachers Guides for FREE on the internet! This is a huge plus point. : )
Elementary schools normally buy a full set of books like these for the library, which is cool, but they are also really useful in class. By having several copies of one book, usually about 1 book per two students, the kids can follow through whilst you play the audio at the front of the class. This is a great technique for quieting kids down whilst giving them some much needed audio and visual input. I'd only recommend it for about 3 or 4 minutes per class, which is about one book, but for older grades they may wish to do more. It can be a lifesaver in some of the more "unteachable" 6th grade classes!
Anyway, I've copied down the publishers information below. You can click through to the mp3 files and Teachers Guides for each book, and you can order them right from this page. Take a bit of time to look around, the free downloads are a fantastic teaching resource in their own right!
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