ELL News Headlines

Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

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Bilingualism No Problem for Children with Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome can and do become bilingual. Initial findings of a research study at Bangor University suggest that speaking two languages is not in any way detrimental to the language development of children with Down syndrome.

Why a Texas school district is helping immigrants facing deportation

Abigail Rubio, 16, was eating lunch in the cafeteria of Honey Grove High School when she found out ICE was raiding the trailer factory where her dad worked. "Did y'all hear about what happened at Load Trail?" a friend asked. Abigail, or Abby as friends and family call her, went on social media. On Snapchat, a friend asked if she'd talked to her dad yet. The friend said buses and helicopters were outside the plant. "That’s when it hit me," said the shy junior who runs cross country and plays tambourine in her Pentecostal church band. "I broke down." When The Hechinger Report visited six weeks later — long after the choppers had left and most of the workers had been released on bail — fear and anxiety remained high, with entire families swept up in the emotional, legal and economic insecurity. But in this small Texas town where Friday nights belong to high school football, Superintendent Todd Morrison decided these weren't struggles families should deal with alone.

How to Differentiate Instruction for ELLs (Without Losing Your Mind)

Instructional expert and esteemed blogger Larry Ferlazzo wants you to know: Differentiation isn't as hard as you might think.  Ferlazzo and veteran teacher Katie Hull Sypnieski are featured in a new video series about differentiating for English language learners on Education Week.

Integrating DLLs' Home Language in the Classroom Does Not Hobble English Learning, New Study Finds

A recent study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly delves into questions around the use of young children's home language in the classroom with a focus on Spanish-English dual language learners. Drawing from existing data of high-quality Educare programs (a research-based full day, year-round early education program that serves low-income children ages birth to five), the researchers explore how teachers' use of Spanish in the classroom is related to students’ growth in English and Spanish.

50 million words: Bilingual literacy app showing signs of success in Pajaro Valley

Fifty million. That's how many words Pajaro Valley students in grades K-3 have read under an app-based, bilingual early literacy initiative launched in 2017. The Pajaro Valley Unified School District initiative is attempting to bring students up to grade-level reading standards by the end of the third grade — a key milestone that correlates with success in and out of classroom.

English-Learners and Reclassification: Principals Play Pivotal Role, Study Finds

Principals have the power to ensure English-language learners get an equitable education, but many don't realize how much influence they wield, a new study on school leadership concludes. The study, led by researchers from Michigan State University and Old Dominion University, examined how principals empower or impede equity through their leadership during decisionmaking about English-learner reclassification — the process schools use to determine when, and if, English-learners are deemed proficient in the language and no longer need specialized instruction.

California Schools Help Unaccompanied Immigrant Students Combat Trauma, Language Barriers

More than 200,000 children and youth under 18 have crossed the U.S. border without their parents since 2014.  In their new communities, teachers, counselors and district leaders have had to come up with a diverse array of strategies to help them overcome a daunting set of obstacles to finish high school. Many students have survived severe trauma in their home countries, or missed years of school. If they are 16 or older, they only have a few years to learn English and catch up on math or literacy. Often, they have to work to send money home or pay rent. At the same time, these students have skills that teachers can build upon to help them succeed: in addition to Spanish, many also speak an indigenous language; some have years of work experience in their home countries; and, having traveled so far and endured so much, they are often determined to succeed.

How Bibliotherapy Can Help Students Open Up About Their Mental Health

Getting teenagers to speak about their problems can be challenging, especially when they feel like outsiders and worry about judgment from their peers. That is why Anita Cellucci, a school librarian at Westborough High School in Westborough, Massachusetts, developed an alternative way to support struggling students at the school. Cellucci and school counselor Ceil Parteleno began a six-week group specifically targeted to students who had experienced trauma and loss. Drawing upon Cellucci’s knowledge and love of books, and Parteleno’s expertise as a counselor, the pair began a unique school-based support group, using storytelling and literature as a way to help kids understand and cope with their emotions. This kind of support is known as bibliotherapy.

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