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  1.  Building Vocabulary for ELLs


    Write about Building Vocabulary for ELLs in the Pre-production and Early Production Stages   


Subject Language Acquisition Pages 4 Style APA


Pre-Production and Early Production Language Teaching Strategies

Language acquisition can be categorized into first and second language acquisitions. First language acquisition follows a universal process of listening to sounds, imitating them, and producing words (Brooks, 2015). Second language acquisition, on the other hand, assumes first language knowledge to facilitate a learning process (Ahmadian & Mayo, 2017). Stages in second language learning follow the pre-production, early production, speech emergence, beginning fluency, intermediate fluency, and advanced fluency phases respectively (Ellis, 2018). This paper seeks to describe the benefits of the main strategies that can be employed in successful vocabulary development during the pre-production and early production stages of language learning. In addition, the paper describes the Silent Period and how it affects vocabulary development and how it is accounted for within teaching.

            Instructional strategies for the pre-production and early production stages entail emphasizing on musing and reading aloud to build listening comprehension (Ellis, 2018). Visual aids should also be used where students can act vocabulary out and point to pictures. These visual aids facilitate ease of understanding meanings of various words and can be easily recalled by learners. The use of shorter words and slow speech with correctly phrased English enables learners to grasp the words accurately. Survival language modeling where words are accompanied by actions is also an effective strategy for building vocabulary in these early language acquisition phases (Li, 2015). For instance, when a teacher says walk, they can demonstrate what they mean by taking actual steps so that students visualize the words for ease of memorization. As much as possible, showing, pointing, and other gestures should be utilized. Excessive error correction should be minimized to avoid demoralizing the students. Instead, when students make mistakes, modeling the correct use of language should be used to reinforce learning (Brooks, 2015). Overall, applied cognitive, meta-cognitive, and social instructional strategies should not be constrained to language development, but can also be applied in other learning areas (Ahmadian & Mayo, 2017).

            The silent period describes the first language acquisition stage. The stage is accorded this name because students do minimal talking (Ellis, 2018). During silent period, monologues are exposed to a second language and their exposure level determines how long it will last (Brooks, 2015). This implies that students who are exposed to a new language fully, such as by living abroad, are likely to undergo a short silent stage than those who attend bilingual schools in their home country (Li, 2015). Personality also affects the duration of the silent period because introverts take more time while extroverts emerge through the stage after a short duration. Other factors that determine the short period are age, the relationship between the first language and English, level of participation whether active or passive (Ahmadian & Mayo, 2017).

            The silent period is important in learning English as all learners must go through it. Teachers should understand that before students start conversing, they take more time listening and watching people using the language (Ahmadian & Mayo, 2017). It may appear like the student is passively in class and while oral participation is rare, they absorb vocabulary and structure employed in the English language. Teachers should, therefore, develop other ways of checking the learning progress of the students except in demonstrating their oral prowess (Li, 2015). Due to a lack of communication, a silent period also affects vocabulary development (Brooks, 2015). Therefore, parents should strive to speak to the children in English to facilitate communication. Besides, they can help by translating new words in their native languages so that the children can understand their use. This way, vocabulary development becomes easier and the learner takes less time in the silent period.

            In conclusion, teaching EELS in pre-production and early production stages is a task that must be approached with skill and drive to ensure the student gets the cues of the English language. Learners at this stage have little or no knowledge of the language. Thus strategies employed should focus on the learner’s cognitive, metacognitive, and social aspects for optimal effectiveness. Besides, during the silent stage, learners should be exposed to as much vocabulary as possible with an emphasis on understanding.



Ahmadian, M., & Mayo, M. D. (2017). Recent perspectives on task-based language learning

            and teaching. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.

Brooks, K. W. (2015). Introduction to TESOL: A beginners approach to teaching speakers of

            other languages. Lulu.com.

Ellis, R. (2018). Reflections on task-based language teaching. Multilingual Matters.

Li, N. (2015). A book for every teacher: Teaching English language learners. IAP.






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