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Adolescent Literacy

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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Before- & After-School Support for Adolescent ELLs

Before- and after-school programs can play an important role in ELLs' success by providing a place and time for homework, extra academic support, and enrichment activities. These programs are particularly helpful for older students who may not have access to academic resources or help at home, or those with responsibilities such as working or caring for younger siblings. Learn more about the elements of an effective before- and after-school program for ELLs from this excerpt of Teaching Adolescent English Language Learners: Essential Strategies for Middle and High School (Caslon Publishing, 2010).

Parent Tips: How to Get Your Teen Reading

Strong reading skills are important for teenagers, but sometimes it can be a challenge to get them reading! Here are some ways to encourage your teen to read.

Social and Emotional Needs of Middle and High School ELLs

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.

Tips for Teaching Middle and High School ELLs

ELL Student Success: The Path to College

For English language learners, the challenges of going to and applying to college can be overwhelming. ELL teachers can play an important role, however, by helping students prepare for and navigate the application process. This section features a number of articles with great ideas for ways that ELL educators can support their students as they consider their future plans.

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.

Creating a College-Going Culture for English Language Learners

Some English language learners may not know what to expect from the college application process. Others don't start thinking about college until their junior or senior year. One way to ensure that students are prepared to apply for college is to create a college-going culture in your school and across your district.

How to Support ELL Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFEs)

Many English language learners come to school having had little or no schooling in their native countries, or with an interrupted education if their family has moved frequently. While educating students with interrupted formal education (SIFEs) presents many challenges to educators, they can indeed obtain a high school diploma with the right kind of support, and go on to future academic and professional success. This article provides a profile of SIFEs and their needs, recommendations of best practices, and examples of the kinds of quality school-wide and classroom support that will accelerate their academic achievement.

Serving Recent Immigrant Students Through School-Community Partnerships

How do district and school partnerships with community-based organizations help schools better meet the needs of recent immigrant students? This article provides some examples of promising strategies in which community-based organizations and districts work together to address linguistic and cultural differences, help newcomers gain new language skills and catch up academically with their peers, and provide educational and social support to immigrant families.

Library Services for Teenagers

Many libraries offer services for teenagers, providing information and activities of interest to teens in the community. Just being certain that teenagers know what kinds of programs are available may be the best help you can give — that, along with setting the example of visiting the library and reading yourself.

What Does Research Tell Us About Teaching Reading to English Language Learners?

In this article, a seasoned ELL teacher synthesizes her own classroom experience and the findings of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth to make recommendations for effective literacy instruction of ELL students.

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.

Helping Your Child Succeed: Helpful PreK-12 Tips

Some of the main academic subjects include reading, math, social studies, and science. Whether your child is struggling in a certain area, or you just want to help them get ahead, this article contains tips you can use to help them succeed in every subject, from preschool through high school. There are also suggestions for how to make sure your children are developing socially and staying healthy.

School Issues and Program Information

All schools are held to certain standards based on federal and state laws. This article discusses some of obligations stated in The No Child Left Behind Act, which includes mandatory testing. It also describes the different programs available to English Language Learners and students with disabilities, as well as vocational and college preparatory programs.

How the School System Works

Besides your child's teacher, many other people are involved in your child's education, The more you know about what they do, the more you can help your child.

Pathways to Success:
An AFT Guide for Parents

As a parent, you want the best for your kids. The American Federation of Teachers shares your expectations and knows you can make a big difference in your child's education.

Teaching Content Areas

English language learners have to learn content with their native English-speaking peers, but they have the added challenge of learning English at the same time. Here are some ways to support ELLs in learning academic content.

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.

Urgent but Overlooked: The Literacy Crisis Among Adolescent English Language Learners

English language learners (ELLs) represent more than 10% of the national pre-K through 12th grade enrollment, and more than 70% of these ELLs fail to develop strong literacy skills. To increase this group's educational, college, and job opportunities, policymakers must address the unique ELL literacy questions.

Time is Not on Our Side: Literacy and Literature for High School Language Learners

Given that teachers often have too much to teach and too little time, teacher Dana Dusbiber suggests an alternative approach to teaching literature for secondary ELLs: the introduction of more multicultural literature in the classroom.

Academic Language: Everyone's "Second" Language

Being able to speak English fluently does not guarantee that a student will be able to use language effectively in academic settings. Fluency must be combined with higher order thinking skills to create an "academic language," which allows students to effectively present their ideas in a way that others will take seriously. The author, an ELL teacher, describes her use of "protocols" (a cheat sheet of sentence starters) to build students' cognitive academic language proficiency.

High-Achieving Middle Schools for Latino Students in Poverty

What are the characteristics of middle schools in which Latino students from low-income families make substantial achievement gains?

Building Trust with Schools and Diverse Families

While increased family involvement is linked to improved student performance, it is not always fully understood and examined within schools. Different types of involvement may include parenting, communicating with schools, volunteering at schools, supporting learning at home, participating in school governance and decision-making, and taking part in school-community collaborations. In order to encourage and foster this comprehensive involvement with all families, school administrators and teachers must develop mutual trust, consider the different cultural attitudes some families may have towards schooling, and be diligent in reaching out.

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.

Hooking Reluctant Readers

In this excerpt from her essay "Literacy Development for Latino Students" (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.

Frankie: A Man of His Word

In this excerpt from her essay "Literacy Development for Latino Students" (The Best for Our Children: Critical Perspectives on Literacy for Latino Students, Teacher's College Press), the author describes the connection a reluctant reader made with one of the books he picked up from her desk.