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Activities

Many English language learners, even those who are adapt at decoding English text, continue to experience difficulties with reading comprehension throughout their school careers. The articles in this section provide excellent strategies for helping ELLs develop the skills they need in order to "read to learn" during the middle school and high school years. See Teaching Content Areas for more great ideas.

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How to Read Nonfiction Text

Many kids love to read about science and nature as well as real people, places, and events. Nonfiction books present information in engaging and interesting ways. Find out how you can help your child learn to navigate all the parts of a nonfiction book — from the table of contents to the diagrams, captions, glossary, and index.

Creating Bar Graphs

Real-life scientists use charts and graphs as a way to organize and understand the information they have gathered. Young scientists can do the same! These activities will help you and your child create simple bar charts together, learn the vocabulary of graphing (axis, scale, labels, etc.), and have fun building "on-the-ground" graphs using real objects.

Cause and Effect

Discover some simple hands-on activities and games that can be done at home or in the backyard to help your child develop a deeper understanding of cause and effect — and strengthen reading comprehension and scientific inquiry skills.

Patterns and Categorizing

Children begin using their senses to recognize patterns and categorize things at a young age — skills that play an important role in early learning. This tip sheet provides some simple activities, as well as recommended books, that parents can use to help their kids build pattern recognition and categorization skills in science and math.

Recording Observations: Capturing and Sharing Images

Young kids love technology, gadgets, and nature! While parents may be looking for ways to reduce screen time for their kids, here are a few helpful suggestions for integrating simple technology and books into your outdoor adventures in a fun and educational way.

Measure Up!

Hands-on measurement activities are fun to explore with children. Introduce your young learner to these interesting new vocabulary words and knowledge, and help your child develop an early love of measuring everything in sight!

Make History Come Alive with Books!

A great way for young children to develop an interest in history is through books! This article offers some ideas for getting started.

Beat the Heat with Your Weather Page

Summer's temperatures often send kids and parents inside to cooler air. Here are a few tips to make the most of those hot afternoons with some literacy and math fun using only your newspaper, computer, or other household items.

Teaching Tips: Summer School for English Language Learners

Veteran teacher Sharon Eghigian has nearly 15 years of experience teaching in a variety of ESL summer programs. Some of those programs include ESL summer school (Grades K-5), "Jump Start" classes at non-profit agencies (ages 8-16), and cultural orientation/ESL classes for newcomers (K-5). Sharon draws on her experience and shares some of her favorite summer ESL school activities and tips in the following article. Most strategies are geared towards elementary ELLs, although many can be adapted for older students.

The Night Before the Museum

Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. The time leading up to your trip can be filled with excitement and adventure too! Whether you're going to the zoo, the museum, or a state park, below are a few "stops" to make before your visit to help your child get the most out of a family or school educational experience.

Successful Field Trips with English Language Learners

English language learners can benefit from field trips that provide an experience that enhances classroom learning. It can be overwhelming for a teacher to think of organizing all the details of a field trip, but with some planning beforehand and a few extra steps, field trips can be very successful! This article offers some ways to make the field trips with ELLs go more smoothly and to provide students with a meaningful academic experience.

Grocery Store Literacy for Preschoolers

A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a real learning experience for your preschooler. Below are some easy ways to build literacy and math skills while getting your shopping done at the same time!

Grocery Store Literacy

A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a real learning experience for your child. Below are some easy ways to build literacy and math skills while getting your shopping done at the same time!

Getting Ready to Read: Family Activities

There are many activities that parents can share with their children at home in order to strengthen reading and language skills! These articles offer an overview of some of those activities, as well as specific ideas to use.

Reader's Theater: Oral Language Enrichment and Literacy Development for ELLs

ELLs can benefit from Reader's Theater activities in a number of ways, including fluency practice, comprehension, engaging in a story, and focusing on vocal and physical expression. Kristina Robertson offers a number of approaches to Reader's Theater with ELLs in this article.

Getting Ready to Read: Using Storytelling, Rhymes, and More!

From singing and rhyming to storytelling and acting, these activities will help children to develop a wide array of reading readiness skills.

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

How many times have you watched your child choose a book and then pore over the illustrations? When you look at a children's book, the illustrations can make the story come alive in magical ways. For some suggestions on how to use picture books to engage your child when reading together, take a look at this article.

Get Ready for Election Day!

If you are interested in bringing the local, state, or presidential election to your classroom, try some of these resources! We've included links to children's booklists, lesson plans and websites full of ideas you can use in the classroom.

Review: IGUANA Magazine

Magazines can be a wonderful way to motivate children to read. Colorín Colorado has received a number of requests for recommendations of Spanish-language children's magazines from teachers and parents. We are pleased to report that we have found an excellent publication that we can enthusiastically recommend, and that parents and children alike are sure to enjoy: IGUANA Magazine.

Getting Your Children Excited About the Library

Helping your children to enjoy reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent and well worth the investment of your time and energy. It's important to remember that you can give your children this kind of experience even if you don't have a lot of books in your home. Your local public library has an abundance of books, plus many other valuable resources. This article offers some ideas for ways to get kids excited about the library.

More Than Books at the Library

In addition to a wealth of books, your library most likely will have tapes and CDs of books, musical CDs, movies, computers that you can use, and many more resources. You also might find storytelling programs, books in languages other than English, or programs to help adults learn English or improve their reading.

Making Reading Relevant: Read, Learn, and Do! (K-3)

Every time you pair a book with an experience, you are giving your child an opportunity to learn more about their world. Below are some suggestions for books and corresponding activities to extend your child's reading experiences.

Making Reading Relevant: Read, Learn, and Do! (Pre-K)

Every time you pair a book with an experience, you are giving your child an opportunity to learn more about their world. Below are some suggestions for books and corresponding activities to extend your preschooler's reading experiences.

Gear Up for a New School Year!

Starting a new school year positively is very important. It is likely that most teachers will have newly enrolled students in their classrooms, as well as students who do not speak English as their first language. For this reason, there is a lot for teachers to think about as they start the new school year.

My Diary From Here to There/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá Cross-Curriclar Activities

My Diary From Here to There/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá Reading Activities

Featherless/Desplumado
Reading Activities

Featherless/Desplumado Cross-Curricular Activities

Activities to use with the book Featherless/Desplumado for Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Art, Math, and Science.

Cooperative Learning Strategies

Cooperative Learning is a great way to engage ELLs in learning both language and content. This article has several ideas for small group activities that build skills and promote teamwork.

Oral Language Development for Beginners

Teach vocabulary and communication skills by having students act out simple activities. This strategy, called Total Physical Response, helps students in the early stages of language development.

Help Your Child Understand What He or She Reads

When children get to fourth grade, they no longer spend time in class learning how to read. Instead, they learn about science, social studies, and many other subjects. They read in order to understand.

Encourage Your Child to Write

Writing is a great way for your child to become a better reader. Here are some fun ways to get your child writing at home. Even very young children can write stories!

Teach Your Child About Sounds

Starting at age three or four, children can usually play rhyming and other sound games. Being able to hear the different sounds in words is an important step for your child.

Fun Reading Tips and Activities

We'll make sure you never run out of fun reading activities to do with your child. Share these with other adults in your child's life - grandparents, babysitters, aunts/uncles, and friends!

Reading for Information

Don't forget to add non-fiction books to your reading routine! Kids can follow their own interests and learn about the world around them by reading about bugs, dinosaurs, or outer space. You can also use the information in books to do activities at home – make green eggs and ham like Sam I Am, or a newspaper hat like Curious George!

Oral Language: Expanding Your Child's Vocabulary

Talking to your child helps expand vocabulary, develop background knowledge, and inspire a curiosity about the world – all of which help with learning to read! Here are some simple activities you can do at home to get your child ready to read.

Suggestions: Working with ESL Students Who Have Special Needs in Reading

Teachers are in a unique position to create positive attitudes in English language learners. These suggested children's texts can help ELLs open up about the struggles, ambivalence, and rewards of learning a second language.

Five Free and Easy Tips for Summer Learning: Research Pointers and What You Can Do

Research about how much children lose ground over the summer is well documented, but kids don't have to lose ground over the summer. In fact, you can encourage your child to have a summer of fun and learning with these five free and easy things to do.

Moony Luna/Luna, Lunita Lunera – Reading Activities

Moony Luna is a bilingual book, set in a bilingual classroom, which makes it the perfect book to use for bilingual classroom activities.

Family Stories

This article provides a number of ways that you can make storytelling a part of the time your family spends together.

Making Music: Literacy Tips for Parents

Music is a great way to introduce children to sounds and words! Research indicates that exposure to music has numerous benefits for a child's development.

Writing and Spelling Ideas to Use with Kids

As children learn some letter-sound matches and start to read, they also begin to experiment with writing. These activities can be used with children to develop their writing and spelling abilities.