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Differentiated Instruction & RTI for ELLs

Each student comes to school, not only with unique academic needs, but also with unique background experiences, culture, language, personality, interests, and attitudes toward learning. Effective teachers recognize that all of these factors affect how students learn in the classroom, and they adjust, or differentiate, their instruction to meet students' needs. Here are some strategies for differentiating instruction for your English language learners.

Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated Instruction for ELLs

In this article written for Colorín Colorado, Dr. Karen Ford outlines some strategies for implementing differentiated instruction effectively in the ELL classroom.

Differentiated Instruction and Testing Accommodations for ESOL Students

This guide from the Montgomery County Schools in Maryland demonstrates the parallel between differentiated instructional strategies for English language learners and state-permitted testing accommodations for ESOL students. The chart includes a sample of essential strategies recommended for providing differentiated instruction for English language learners across all content areas. While the guidelines are aligned to Maryland, this document may serve as a useful reference for ELL practitioners who are reviewing their own strategies and accommodations.

Reading Rockets Webcast: Differentiated Reading Instruction

Reading Rockets Webcast: Differentiated Reading Instruction

Featuring Carol Ann Tomlinson, G. Michael Pressley, and Louise Spear-Swerling, this Reading Rockets professional development webcast discusses teaching strategies for differentiating reading instruction. There are also a number of helpful resources in Reading Rockets' RTI section.

RTI for English Language Learners

What Questions Do We Need to Ask?

In this excerpt from RTI for Diverse Learners, Catherine Collier outlines the questions about students' background and education that are critical to answer when addressing specific learning behaviors or difficulties. She also includes concerns to watch for when screening for a learning difficulty.

Response to Intervention in Reading for English Language Learners

This article by Sharon Vaughn and Alba Ortiz briefly highlights the knowledge base on reading and RTI for ELLs and provides preliminary support for the use of practices related to RTI with ELLs.

RTI and ELLs: A System of Support to Ensure Success

Alan Matan is the Department Chairman for ELL and Foreign Languages at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Illinois. In this article written for Colorín Colorado, he explains the process by which his team created and implemented an RTI model designed to meet the needs of long-term ELLs.

Recommended Resources

Booklist: Differentiated Instruction & RTI for ELLs

RTI for Diverse Learners: More Than 200 Instructional Interventions

These handbooks offer step-by-step guidelines for designing and implementing effective differentiated instruction and Response-To-Intervention (RTI) strategies in the classroom or wider school environment.

Researchers and practitioners share lessons learned, hands-on tools, and recommended resources.

Webcast: RTI for English Language Learners

This webinar from the National Center on Response to Intervention, led by Dr. Julie Esparza Brown, Dr. Amanda Sanford, and Erin Lolich focuses on improving educational outcomes for ELLs through culturally and linguistically responsive implementation of an RTI framework in the area of elementary reading. Specifically, the panelists discus critical considerations to appropriately utilize screening and progress monitoring data with ELL students to improve reading outcomes by addressing the factors that influence ELL students' academic success. A case study is used to illustrate these recommendations with a first-grade ELL student.

Videos: Response to Intervention With English Language Learners

The RTI Action Network offers instructional video and audio content to highlight some of the important issues related to realizing the potential of RTI. In the first of three new videos, Dr. Janette Klingner offers suggestions across tiers on how to implement RTI with respect to English Language Learners (ELLs), with a special emphasis on enhancing the quality of core instruction. Additional videos address considerations for educators working with ELLS and cultural and linguistic diversity among ELLs.