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About English Language Learners (ELLs)

The number of English language learners in American schools has more than doubled over the past 20 years. The articles in this section will give you lots of useful ideas for creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive for your ELLs and their families, and also encourages and facilitates learning.

This section contains 14 articles.

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Getting to Know Your ELLs: Six Steps for Success

Making Your First ELL Home Visit: A Guide for Classroom Teachers

Educating Newcomer ELLs with Limited Schooling: An Overview

Helping ELL Newcomers: Things Your Students Need to Know

This excerpt from The More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook offers an excellent list of practical details and logistics that ELLs need to know when starting at a new school, such as routines, rules, transportation, and classroom expectations. The list serves as an excellent reminder of the extra help ELL students and families need negotiating a new school system and will be particularly helpful for teachers new to working with ELLs.

Resources for Migrant Student Success

These resources explore the lives of migrant farm workers and families in a way that children can understand and relate to. They also provide educators tools that will support their efforts to help migrant students succeed.

Supporting ELLs in the Mainstream Classroom

10 Ways to Support ELLs in the School Library

The school library is an important resource for English language learners. It may be the first place many students and their families get experience using a lending library. What can school librarians can to show ELLs that libraries are welcoming places of entertainment and enrichment? This article offers some ideas.

From the Classroom: Working with Chinese ELLs

In this article written exclusively for Colorín Colorado, Xiao-lin shares some insights on ways that teachers can work effectively with Chinese students and parents, as well as some of her own classroom strategies for working with bilingual students. While some of these strategies are culturally/linguistically-specific, many can serve as a model when working with students from diverse backgrounds.

Learning about Your Students' Backgrounds

English language learners represent a vastly diverse group. Learning more about the language, culture, values, family, and home environment of your ELL students will help you to better support your students in the classroom and receive more support from home.

The Diversity of English Language Learners

The schooling experience of ELLs is impacted by many factors such as time in school, quality of instruction, transiency, home environment, and past emotional experiences in school. The following vignettes illustrate some of these differences.

Bilingual Acquisition

Language acquisition is an everyday and yet magical feat of childhood. This article addresses the truth - and the myths - around learning two languages in childhood, and sets the record straight!

Fostering Literacy Development in English Language Learners

Researcher Karen Ford offers some insight on how ELLs use their native language skills to learn to read and write in a second language, and how teachers can help facilitate the process.

Closing the Achievement Gap: Focus on Latino Students

This policy brief provides a snapshot of the current demographic and achievement trends of Latinos, some of the specific barriers to closing the achievement gap, and presents a set of recommendations to improve educational opportunities for Latino children.

English Language Learners and Reading Difficulties

English language learners are at risk for future reading difficulties for a number of reasons. Here are some factors all teachers of ELLs should know.