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The National Reading Panel has identified phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary as the five essential components of effective reading instruction. The articles in this section present recent research on best practices in literacy instruction for English language learners, including strategies for incorporating each of the five components into classroom instruction. See Teaching Reading for many more excellent ideas.

This section contains 85 articles.

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Reading: The Perfect Gift

Reading is a wonderful gift! Books make wonderful memories — especially when you share them with someone you care about! For some ideas of book titles and other holiday gifts that will encourage your child to read, take a look at these suggestions!

ELLs and Reading Fluency in English

Simple Yet Powerful Things to Do While Reading Aloud

To get the most out of a shared reading, encourage your child to appreciate the pictures, and also guide their attention to printed words. Doing so may help your child's reading, spelling, and comprehension skills down the road.

Teaching Literacy in English to K-5 English Learners

Explore the five recommended practices for teaching literacy in English to English language learners: (1) Screen and monitor progress, (2) Provide reading interventions, (3) Teach vocabulary, (4) Develop academic English, and (5) Schedule peer learning.

Mission Critical: Reading Together to Build Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking, the ability to think deeply about a topic or a book, is an essential skill for children to develop. Here are some helpful tips and recommended books to strengthen your child's ability to think critically.

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.

Resources for Librarians: Serving ELLs and Their Families

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.

Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners

Hooking Reluctant ELL Readers

In this excerpt from her essay "Literacy Development for Latino Students," published in The Best for Our Children: Critical Perspectives on Literacy for Latino Students, Teacher's College Press, the author describes the reading program she uses to take her reluctant readers from dreading the library to not wanting to put a book down.

The Importance of Reading Widely

Sharing lots of different kinds, or genres, of books with your child exposes him to different words, different kinds of images, and whole new worlds. This tip sheet suggests some genres to try with your young reader that complement 'traditional' fiction. Some are suggestions for read alouds, while others may be ones your child can read on his own.

Reading Comprehension Strategies for English Language Learners

This article focuses on strategies that are part of three main approaches: building background knowledge, teaching vocabulary explicitly, and checking comprehension frequently.

Understanding and Empathy Through Children's Books

Reading Rockets helps parents and teachers address the aftermath of natural disasters with children through reading and books.

Cómo motivar a los adolescentes a leer

¡Si bien el hecho de que los adolescentes dispongan de sólidas destrezas para la lectura es importante, a veces hacerles que lean puede convertirse en todo un desafío! He aquí algunas maneras de motivar a su adolescente a leer.

Phonics Instruction for Middle and High School ELLs

While it may seem the most expedient solution, it is not appropriate to put an older ELL student in a lower grade to receive the appropriate reading instruction. Age-appropriate activities integrated with academic content give older students the opportunity to make progress as readers.

Picture This! Using Mental Imagery While Reading

One way to help a child comprehend what he is reading is to encourage him to visualize parts of the story in his mind. These "mind movies" help clarify information, increase understanding, and can include any of the five senses. Try these practices below when reading with your child.

Reading 101 for English Language Learners

In this article, Kristina Robertson highlights ELL instructional strategies based on the five components of reading as outlined in "Teaching Children to Read," by the National Reading Panel (2000). This report is a study of research-based best practices in reading instruction and it focuses on the following five instructional areas: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension.

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.

Six Games for Reading

Playing games is a great way to provide additional practice with early reading skills. Here are six games parents or tutors can use to help young readers practice word recognition, spelling patterns, and letter-sound knowledge.

Introducing and Reading Poetry with English Language Learners

This article offers some ideas on how to introduce poetry to ELLs and integrate it with reading instruction, as well as some ideas for reading poetry aloud in a way that will encourage oral language development.

5 Reasons Not to Use Round Robin Reading with ELLs

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.

Using Multimedia to Promote Vocabulary Learning: Supporting English Language Learners in Inclusive Classrooms

A recent research study shows that using multimedia video in conjunction with traditional read aloud methods may improve the vocabulary growth of English language learners. An example of how to implement multimedia during classroom read-alouds is described.

Increasing ELL Student Reading Comprehension with Non-fiction Text

One of the most important skills students learn as they transition into middle and high school is how to get information from a non-fiction text. This skill can be especially challenging for ELLs, who may not have had much experience working independently with expository texts. This Bright Ideas article offers ways that teachers can help ELLs work effectively with non-fiction texts and includes strategies for introducing components, structure, and purpose of expository texts.

Tips for Educators of ELLs: Reading in Grades 7-12

These tips offer some great ways to help your regular and newcomer English Language Learners become confident and successful readers. Add a new language strategy each week, and watch your students' reading improve!

Tips for Educators of ELLs: Reading in Grades 4-6

The tips below offer some great ways to help your English language learners (ELLs) become confident and successful readers. Add a new language strategy each week, and watch your students' reading improve!

Tips for Educators of ELLs: Teaching Vocabulary in Grades 4-12

Research shows that vocabulary development is one of the most important skills students need to acquire to become English-proficient. This article provides some strategies to help you get started.

Tips for Educators of ELLs: What To Do First in Grades 4-12

Before you begin to work with your ELLs, these preparation strategies will make your reading instruction more productive and effective.

Pre-Reading Activities for ELLs

Pre-reading activities can engage student interest, activate prior knowledge, or pre-teach potentially difficult concepts and vocabulary. They also offer a great opportunity to introduce comprehension components such as cause and effect, compare and contrast, personification, main idea, and sequencing.

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.

Parent Tips: Summer Reading

The summer is a wonderful time for children to read what they most enjoy, to learn new things, and to have fun. Colorín Colorado has compiled a list of summer reading tips for parents to get you started!

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.

The Gift of Reading

One of the most important gifts you can give to your child is the gift of reading — whether it’s giving him/her books and reading games during the holiday season or sitting down and reading together each night before bedtime. This article features ideas about how to give the gift of reading to both younger and older children this holiday season and all year round.

Best Practice for ELLs: Vocabulary Instruction

One way to create effective literacy instruction for English learners in the elementary grades is to provide extensive and varied vocabulary instruction.

Tips for Developing Good Reading Habits at Home

Good reading habits start at home! These simple steps that you can take will help your child become a stronger reader and student.

Vocabulary Development with ELLs

Knowing vocabulary words is key to reading comprehension. The more words a child knows, the better he or she will understand the text. Using a variety of effective teaching methods will increase the student's ability to learn new words.

Summer Reading: English Language Learners at the Library

Libraries today have changed in a number of ways to meet the demands of our modern society, but their underlying purpose for children is still to help them discover the joy of reading. As summer peaks, many local libraries advertise special summer reading programs and activities to keep children enthusiastic about reading.

Introducing a Text Before Reading

Teachers can help motivate students to learn by activating prior knowledge and pre-teaching difficult concepts and vocabulary before starting a new unit.

Reading Motivation and Fun

Regardless of what reading program or strategies you use in your classroom, reading needs to be fun! There are many ways that you can help promote the joy of reading.

Reading In Middle and High School

English language learners (ELLs) enter U.S. schools in all grade levels, and with a wide range of backgrounds, reading skills, English language proficiency, and content knowledge. These resources address some of the unique challenges of working with older ELLs.

Reading in Second and Third Grades

Reading is a process of getting meaning from print. Children must have basic knowledge about sound-symbol relationships, vocabulary, and reading prosody. These form the basis for decoding, reading fluency, and reading comprehension that students will need to learn content in the upper grades.

Reading in First Grade

Reading is a process of getting meaning from print. Children must be able to distinguish between different sounds and have basic knowledge about the written alphabet, sound-symbol relationships, and concepts of print. These form the basis for decoding and reading comprehension.

Reading in Kindergarten

Reading is a process of getting meaning from print. Children must be able to distinguish between different sounds and have basic knowledge about the written alphabet, sound-symbol relationships, and concepts of print. These form the basis for decoding and reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension strategies

Introducing a text before reading

Using children's television to learn literacy and language

Reading motivation and fun

For upper elementary, middle school, and high school teachers

Reading in second and third grades

Reading in first grade

Reading in kindergarten

Assessing fluency

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 Letters

Children who know the letters of the alphabet before they go to kindergarten have a big advantage!

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!

Tips for Parents of Third Graders

Find ways to read, write, and tell stories together with your child. Always applaud your young reader and beginning story writer! The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.

Tips for Parents of Second Graders

Find ways to read, write, and tell stories together with your child. Always applaud your young reader and beginning story writer! These tips offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.

Tips for Parents of First Graders

Give your child lots of opportunities to read aloud. Inspire your young reader to practice every day! These tips offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.

Finding and Sharing Great Kids' Books

Favorite stories get shared many times over. Here's some advice about how to find a good children's book and what to do once you're reading together.

Understanding and Assessing Fluency

Learn what reading fluency is, why it is critical to make sure that students have sufficient fluency, how we should assess fluency, and how to best provide practice and support for all students.

Screening, Diagnosing and Progress Monitoring for Fluency

Early and frequent screening can go a long way in preventing reading difficulties. Fluency norms for grades 1-8 are listed here, as well as details on how to find and fix problems to keep kids on track for reading success.

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.

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.

What Parents Can Do: Reading Tips From Kids

Parents can make reading more motivating by letting children choose books and making reading a memorable family event. Find out what children themselves have to say about these guidelines for parents to increase motivation.

Integrated Vocabulary Instruction: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners in Grades K-5

An integrated and comprehensive approach to vocabulary instruction is important for all students, particularly English language learners.

When Kids Hate to Read

Children who aren't motivated to read can benefit from support at home. Learn what parents can do to make reading a more enjoyable experience for struggling readers in this interview with Dr. Marie Carbo.

Poor Children's Fourth-Grade Slump

Teachers have often reported a fourth-grade slump in literacy development, particularly for low-income children, at the critical transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." This study uses Chall's stages of reading development to take a closer look.

English Language Learners and the Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction

Find out how teachers can play to the strengths and shore up the weaknesses of English Language Learners in each of the Reading First content areas.

The Components of Effective Vocabulary Instruction

Effective vocabulary instruction begins with diverse opportunities for word learning: wide reading, high-quality oral language, word consciousness, explicit instruction of specific words, and independent word-learning strategies. This article explains how these opportunities can be created in the classroom.

Some Obstacles to Vocabulary Development

A strong vocabulary, both written and spoken, requires more than a dictionary. In fact, it requires an educational commitment to overcoming four obstacles: the size of the task (the number of words students need to learn is exceedingly large), the differences between spoken and written English, the limitations of information sources including dictionaries, and the complexity of word knowledge (simple memorization is not enough). Learn more about these challenges to acquiring the 2,500 words a student needs to add each year to their reading vocabulary.

English Language Learners and the Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction

This article looks at how you can play to the strengths and shore up the weaknesses of English Language Learners in each of the Reading First content areas.

Early Reading Intervention for English Language Learners At-Risk for Learning Disabilities: Student and Teacher Outcomes in an Urban School

This study follows a group of teachers implementing an early reading intervention program with students at-risk for learning disabilities, most of whom were also English language learners.

Effective Reading Instruction for Struggling Spanish-Speaking Readers: A Combination of Two Literatures

Learning to read in a new language involves different skills than learning to speak. Here's how teachers can make sure ELLs are getting solid reading instruction.

Preventing Difficulties for Low English Proficiency Children

Hispanic students in the United States are at especially high risk of reading difficulties. Despite progress over the past 15 to 20 years, they are about twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to read well below average for their age.

Who Are the Children Who Have Reading Difficulties?

Knowing which children are more likely to be at risk for reading problems allows for early intervention to prevent the majority of these problems from developing. Learn what group and individual factors make certain children at risk.

Recommendations for Teaching Reading to ELLs

Although more research is needed, the research we do have suggests that knowing how to speak English makes it easier to learn to read English. This article makes some recommendations for teaching reading to non-English-speaking children, and raises questions for future research.

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.

Research Agenda: Reading Among Children for Whom English is the Second Language

Research suggests that reading instruction in a child's first language has a positive effect on literacy development in both languages. Ideas for further research on teaching English language learners to read are included.

Recommendations for Teaching Reading to LEP Students

Researchers recommend learning to speak a new language before learning to read it, since spoken language familiarizes newcomers with new word patterns and sounds.

Acquiring a Second Language for School

Learning a second language for school is not simply a linguistic challenge; it poses social, cultural, academic, and cognitive challenges as well. This article describes a conceptual model for acquiring a second language for school that reflects all these challenges, and makes recommendations for instruction stemming from this model.