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Community Story

Alamelu Sundaram-Walters


International Literacy Association (ILA)

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)



Mount Royal, NJ
ESL teacher

"As an elementary ESL teacher, I want students to get excited about making new discoveries, learning about each other's culture, to think critically and creatively, and to apply their learning in a classroom setting. One way to accomplish these goals with my ESL students is through the use of the ReadWriteThink website."

Alamelu Sundaram-Walters's Story
Bringing Focus to ESL

In all my years of teaching, ReadWriteThink has been at the forefront of my tools that I use on a daily basis. Whether it be for an introductory lesson or for cooperative learning groups, ReadWriteThink has always been there to help me out, like a friend's shoulder to lean on. Most recently, I have been using the ReadWriteThink interactive research tool "Timeline".  We used this tool in a lesson on learning how to write their own autobiography or All About Me stories. This can be done in the beginning of the school year or mid year - I have introduced this in the beginning of the year. For ESL students, it is a great way for them to organize their life before they even compose their first draft. I begin by having them brainstorm a definition of a timeline. Then, I show them examples of different ways to use the timeline. I complete my own Timeline on chart paper to model for them. Next, I have them, with a partner, interact with the tool, and begin to try it out. Then, I initiate a class discussion about the entire process; including a dialogue about the Timeline tool itself. As a result, my students are able to think more deeply about ways to organize their thoughts and see how easy it can be to write an autobiography, while having fun. They consider using not only in their own learning, but also in that of their future students. Ultimately, the students reach conclusions about graphic organizers that they select with little guidance from me. Instead, they arrive at the conclusions through their own active learning.


I am an ESL teacher in Mount Laurel, NJ. I have taught for 3 1/2 years for the NYC public schools grades K-5 and for 7 years I have worked and continue to work for Mount Laurel, NJ. I received my B.A in Anthropology and Spanish from Drew University and my Masters degree in TESOL from Touro College in NYC. I am highly qualified in Reading and Language Arts. I am a lifelong learner when it comes to finding new and innovative ways to combine technology with instruction. I bring that love for the yearn to learn to my classroom, while creating a warm and nurturing environment for children to strive to be their best and never expect less.