One of the English and the EAL department’s aim to develop students’ academic English skills so that they can flourish in all the subjects that they study both here at BIS and beyond. (A reminder on the difference between academic English and social English is below.) One of the best ways for students to improve their academic English ability is through additional reading at home. Not only can students broaden their knowledge of literary works, they can also improve their vocabulary and reading comprehension. Furthermore, increased reading at home in conjunction with English and EAL lessons can help make students better academic writers. We also hope to encourage reading for pleasure as this is an invaluable life-long skill.
With this in mind, the English and EAL Departments are pleased to inform parents of the acquisition of a broad range of graded readers. As a result, students can find an ample number of titles which correspond to their current English level (see CEF levels below). These readers can be found in and checked out from the library.
In order to determine the English language level of each BIS secondary student, the Common European Framework (CEF) is used. The Common European Framework is composed of six levels. They are as follow:
• C2 = Advanced/Mastery
• C1 = Advanced
• B2 = Upper-Intermediate
• B1 = Intermediate
• A2 = Pre-Intermediate
• A1 = Elementary
Academic versus Social English
Unlike social English, which can take from two to four years to achieve proficiency, the challenges in regards to the acquisition of academic English are significantly more difficult. In fact, it could take an elementary levelled student as many as eleven years to reach an acceptable academic level of English. The reason for this is the fact that academic English is context reduced. In other words, students must be able to understand cognitively challenging concepts which are often abstract and lacking in non-verbal clues