Idioms 3.0 CoverHere’s some food for thought: When multilingual learners come across common English idioms in text, confusion can hit like a ton of bricks. Although these expressions are second nature for native speakers, they are clear as mud for learners of the English language. Especially when these learners are struggling to read, idioms can add insult to injury. Let’s throw them a bone, shall we?

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag—and we’re over the moon about this news. We gave our popular Idioms series a facelift and now offer it as part of our Read Naturally Live series and our Encore II product line

Our Idioms series kills two birds with one stone. Students improve their reading fluency while simultaneously learning common idioms such as “spill the beans” and “pinch pennies.” Extra audio and vocabulary support are the icing on the cake, giving multilingual students the leg up they need to master the text. Not only will they get a kick out of the lighthearted content, they’ll learn essential skills to boot.

So here’s the skinny, the scoop, the 411 on our Idioms series—and we promise not to bombard you with any more idioms. (You’re already up to your eyeballs and probably tearing your hair out.)

What Is the Idioms Series?

The Read Naturally Idioms series uses the Read Naturally Strategy to teach common American idioms as students build fluency. Each of the four levels in the Idioms series has 12 stories with corresponding vocabulary and activities that include extra audio support. Each story teaches two to three similar idioms and provides examples of how and when a reader might use these expressions in conversation and writing.

What Are the Four Levels in the Idioms Series?

Idioms content is available at levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5.

Why Teach Idioms?

Idioms are so common in our language, native adult speakers tend to take them for granted. But our students—especially multilingual learners—often find them confusing. Understanding these expressions helps students comprehend the many things they read and hear on a daily basis. For English learners who haven’t been immersed in these idioms from an early age, learning them is an essential part of learning the English language.

Furthermore, idioms provide a shortcut for describing a common situation. For example, it may be more concise to say, “I’m walking on eggshells,” than to describe the awkward feeling this expression encompasses. In this way, idioms are a handy tool in conversation, story writing, etc.

Resources for guiding instruction of idioms are often very teacher-intensive or not readily available, which is why Read Naturally chose to develop this series. This product is unique and builds knowledge of American English in an engaging way.

How/When Should I Use the Idioms Series?

The 12 stories in each Idioms level offer additional opportunities for students who may need more practice in a level than provided by the Sequenced or Phonics series alone, especially for students who are not native English speakers. 

We recommend placing a student in an Idioms level when these two conditions coincide:

  • The student’s placement timing falls within the placement range for an Idioms level.
  • The student needs to develop language skills.

Most often, teachers will use the Idioms series with students who have completed the corresponding Sequenced level but need additional content before moving to the next level. An Idioms level could also be used in place of a Sequenced level if the student is able to attain his fluency needs with only 12 stories—for example, a student who is close to his long-term fluency benchmark goal.

What Are Some Sample Story Titles/Idioms?

Here are some examples from the Idioms series:

The story Time to Speak: teaches idioms “have the floor,” “give your two cents,” and “weigh your words.”
The story In Love teaches idioms “have a crush,” “swept off your feet,” and “head over heels.”
The story That’s Easy! teaches idioms “in the bag,” “piece of cake,” and “ace up your sleeve.”
The story Feeling Great teaches idioms “walking on air,” “sitting on top of the world,” and “on cloud nine.”

What Is Included in the Update for Read Naturally Live and Encore II?

When we updated the Idioms series for Read Naturally Live and Encore II, we made minor story revisions, improved glossary definitions, revised quiz questions, made formatting changes, and updated the language to be more inclusive and gender-neutral.

How Can I Order?

Time to cut to the chase and give our Idioms series the benefit of the doubt. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Click here to order Read Live. Click here to order Encore II.