A useful strategy to use when teaching beginner ESL students is contrastive analysis. Contrastive analysis is where you compare and contrast English and the student’s native language. You analyze vocabulary words (are there cognates or similar sounding vocabulary words), grammar (what is the syntax structure of the student’s native language), pronunciation (what are similar sounds between the two languages), and the reading and writing system (Latin, Arabic, Chinese). By doing a contrastive analysis, you are able to predict easier language skills as well as difficult language skills for the student as they are acquiring English. For example, Spanish speakers use the same writing system as English speakers, so forming letters will not be as challenging like it would be for Chinese speakers. However, Spanish speakers do not have the third person singular (He walks). Therefore, this skill will be more difficult for Spanish speakers to learn. As an ESL teacher, you know ahead of time that your students need more time to practice this skill. Contrastive analysis helps with reading in that you begin with letter names and sounds that are similar between the two languages. Similar letter names and sounds will be easier to learn than letter names and sounds that differ between the two languages, which you teach last. If you do not know the similarities and differences between English and your student’s first language, listen carefully to the student when they speak their first language. Any sounds that are similar to English will be easier for the student to learn. I have noticed that the “th” sound (soft and hard) is difficult for many English language learners because most languages do not have this sound in their first language. If you have students who do not use the Latin writing system in their first language, then, as an ESL teacher, you can plan extra time for these students to learn how to form Latin based letters during your lessons.