Teaching ESL students to read complex text such as persuasive essays can be a challenge, especially since vocabulary is quite difficult for them. This is an adapted reading assignment for high school students where difficult vocabulary is underlined in the passage so you can scaffold teaching key vocabulary words necessary for them to comprehend the text.
There are 3 parts to this assignment and it can be used over a series of three days of in-class instruction:
1) Graphic Organizer- Students use this graphic organizer to take notes from the reading on the benefits and disadvantages described in the two essays. I suggest having the students read the first essay on Day 1 and they can take notes on the benefits, then students can read the second essay on Day 2 and take notes on the disadvantages.
2) Essays- There are two adapted essays included. The first is arguing why students should learn a foreign language, where students look for the benefits of studying a second language. The second essay argues why students should not be required to learn a second language, where students look for the disadvantages of foreign language classes being mandatory in high school. All difficult vocabulary words are underlined in the text to make it easy to scaffold. Students can identify synonyms and antonyms used in the text to build vocabulary skills necessary to writing an essay.
3) Writing Response- Students use what they have learned in both essays to formulate their own compare-contrast essay. Students describe three benefits and three disadvantages to studying a foreign language in school. Students also determine whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages in their response. This can be done on Day 3 in class or it can be done for homework. If students are unfamiliar with the structure of a compare-contrast essay, they will require further instruction on the organization of the text (includes an introduction, body paragraph on benefits, body paragraph on disadvantages, and a conclusion).