by Jan McClellan
Boosting Achievement by Carol Salva is a much-needed resource for any person working with SIFE/SLIFE students. SIFE/SLIFE are Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education. Ms. Salva takes an asset-based approach to what our English Language Learners (ELLs) can bring into our classrooms even if they are SIFE/SLIFE. The culture and language knowledge these students bring should be celebrated as we work to help them with the gaps they might be overcoming. Salva discusses how she holds high expectations for her students and helps them succeed by bridging what they know and building on it to help them be successful in learning English and in their mainstream coursework.
Salva’s book is also chock-full of resources and aids to help better understand students’ abilities and gaps. She recommends beginning with foundational skills and building on those as well as taking a broader approach to introducing students to school culture and basic study skills. Making SIFE/SLIFE students welcome and comfortable in your classroom is one of Salva’s strongest pieces of advice. How to build perseverance in our students and boost confidence in their learning abilities is also discussed. She addresses ways to accelerate learning English including using technology and removing any issues that might hinder student learning based on affective filters that might exist in the student’s life. Knowing our students is the best way to ensure they are able to learn in our classrooms. What works for one student might not work for another, and Salva gives many examples and resources on how she works with her students that teachers can model or adapt for their students.
Another highlight to this book is that #Ellchat_BkClub did a summer book study on this where readers/teachers/future educators can go and talk to others about how they are boosting achievement in their classrooms. Check out this blog for more information on articles and videos that come alongside the book to help increase understanding and dive deeper into better supporting SIFE/SLIFE students. Salva also continues to share related resources on her Twitter account, @MsSalvac.
Salva recommends many resources that will aid in making your classroom SIFE/SLIFE friendly including her highlighting the ELL/Literacy books developed by Saddleback Publishing that are high interest and phonics-based instruction. Salva has done the research and shared it with all in Boosting Achievement. She shares her experience, abilities, and knowledge to help all educators understand how amazing our students are. Do yourself a favor and check it out!
Editor’s Note: Carol Salva will be presenting at #MIDTESOL18 related to this book. For more details about her three workshops, click here.
Jan McClellan is an ELL Specialist for the Logan-Rogersville School District in Southwestern Missouri. She has worked with ELLs for five years in the primary and secondary levels through Co-Teaching and Sheltered English Instruction. She has presented at MIDTESOL on using technology and iPads in the ELL classroom and utilizing video tools to support ELLs in the mainstream classroom. She has a passion for personalized learning and English Language Learners.