Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!

Teachers who work with English as a Second Language learners will find ESL/ESOL/ELL/EFL reading/writing skill-building children's books, stories, activities, ideas, strategies to help PreK-3, 4-8, and 9-12 students learn to read.

A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners

ELL News

US Map icon

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!

ELL News Updates

Note: These links may expire after a week or so, and some websites require you to register first before seeing an article. Colorín Colorado does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside web sites.

White House adviser helps Hispanics boost their chances for college

USC News (CA)

August 01, 2014

Emmanuel Caudillo vividly remembers the challenges he faced as a first-generation college student. For starters, he found some of the application forms to be daunting, particularly the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines federal, state and university-level aid for students. Now Caudillo is working to ensure that Hispanic youths across the country have an easier time gaining access to college. One way he's doing that is by helping to publish "¡Graduate! Financial Aid Guide to Success," a guide to help Hispanic students and families navigate the college application process. He’s also focusing on better access to early education programs and kindergarten through 12th-grade education for Hispanics.

We Need Diverse Books Incorporates

School Library Journal

August 01, 2014

The We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Tumblr blog reported that the viral campaign and hashtag has also filed "for incorporation as a non-profit organization in the state of Pennsylvania." The same blog post also announced the newly incorporated non-profit's advisory board members in the form of familiar YA and children's authors Grace Lin, Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Cindy Pon. "Each of these members has a history of advocating for diverse books, and is a pioneer in the field of children's literature," said Ellen Oh, president of WeNeedDiverseBooks. "They will not only increase our visibility as an organization, but light the way going forward."

Laredo students compete at National Hispanic Institute

KGNS TV (Laredo, TX)

August 01, 2014

Last weekend, 30 of Laredo’s upcoming sophomores participated in the National Hispanic Institute Great Debate at the University of Texas at Austin. They are high achieving students mostly from Alexander, Early College and United South High Schools. They participated in a grueling critical thinking debate on themes impacting the Latino community using four debate categories: Mock Trial, Cross Examination, Oratory and Extemporaneous Speaking.

Can after-school programs help shrink the 'opportunity gap' for low-income students?

PBS NewsHour

July 31, 2014

Most students in the U.S. spend far less time in school than their counterparts in other industrialized countries, and it's been that way for a long time. But now, as academic expectations are rising, one idea for improving student achievement that is gaining more attention is extending the school day.

Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Voice of America

July 31, 2014

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Immigrants from Latin America believe that coming to the United States means a better life for their children. But many find themselves living in dangerous places and with a bleak future, said Gary Orfield, co-director of the UCLA Civil Rights Project.

Greene County Schools receives grant to engage Hispanic students

WNCT (Greenville, NC)

July 31, 2014

A $10,000 grant promises to help a local school system get Hispanic students better involved in their classrooms and community. Greene County School's Community Action Plan for the Institute for Emerging Issues won the money over dozens of other entries. Right now, Latinos make up nearly 30% of Greene County's student body, yet those students are not often engaged in school activities, dances or extracurriculars. School leaders and community members got together to come up with a way to break those barriers. "The culture is still strong within our family," said community partner, Steve Davis. "The language is something that's really important."

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state

Hechinger Report

July 30, 2014

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. The ACLU claims the state has done nothing to force school districts to provide appropriate services for the approximately 20,000 English learners who, according to a 2010-11 survey of school districts, are receiving no services.

Hispanic Heritage Foundation Donates Tablets, Books for Immigrant Children

Fox News

July 30, 2014

The surge of immigrants continues throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Everyday people from different parts of Central America arrive at the Sacred Heart church in McAllen as they head to their final destination. With an overwhelming amount of immigrants arriving, sources become scarce. This is where the Hispanic Heritage foundation comes to the rescue. The organization also donated toys, books and clothes for the children through donations.

James John Elementary teachers gather to read at St. Johns Community Center to encourage literacy

The Oregonian

July 30, 2014

Every Tuesday afternoon this summer, the James John Elementary School students can find their teachers in the park. They’re the ones siting on the grass outside the St. Johns Community Center, next to books strewn about a multicolored blanket. The goal? To make sure kids read during the summer. At James John Elementary, more than 80 percent come from low-income families. Robin Rolfe, the school’s teacher librarian, said she knows many students in the school may have less access to books during the summer — and teachers wanted to find a way to keep them reading. Mark Gast, an ESL teacher at the school, said it’s crucial to keep kids in academic activities during the summer. The North Portland resident volunteers often at the weekly visit.

For Schools with Child Immigrants, What Resources Are Available?

Education Week

July 29, 2014

While the Obama administration takes action to stem the flow of unaccompanied minors across the Southwest border and contain the mounting political blowback, many of these children have already turned up in public schools and will continue to do so in the months ahead. Under federal law, they are entitled to a free public education regardless of their immigration status. Just two months ago, the U.S. Department of Education reminded school districts of their legal obligations when it comes to undocumented students.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Theater camp helps keep the Spanish in Latino-heritage families

Los Angeles Times

July 29, 2014

Elena Versage has something to say, but the words just won't come out. "Dime," her teacher urges. "Tell me." The 7-year-old looks to the floor and wrings her hands. "I can't," she whispers. "I don't know Spanish." It was the second day of a summer camp created by the Los Angeles Theatre Academy to help children with Latino roots hold on to their Spanish. But even in a city where everyone seems to speak un poquito de español, the goal is more easily set than accomplished. In a single Latino family with 10 grandchildren, Spanish proficiency may be all over the map. Some may be fluent. Others may know little more than adios and muchas gracias. Some go to great lengths to keep the language alive — immersion schools, vacations in Latin America, Spanish-speaking nannies, quality time with abuelita.

Randolph youngsters learn the language of summer

Randolph Herald (MA)

July 29, 2014

Randolph youngsters traveled to the Dance Complex where they got to move around and learn African dances and even beat on African drums, all while getting the chance to better their education. The Randolph Public Schools English Language Learning (ELL) department is holding summer program for Randolph Public Schools students who are learning English as a second language. "We are focusing on literacy and math but specifically learning and writing non-fiction literature," program coordinator Jaymee Mannix said.

Migrant program on North Coast helps English language learners catch up

Daily Astorian (OR)

July 28, 2014

The halls of John Jacob Astor Elementary School overflow with tiny chairs, desks, tables and other classroom furniture. Maintenance crews install carpet, wash the walls, paint the gym and otherwise spruce up the school. But while most students take a break for the summer, about 85 to 90 migrant and English Language Learner (ELL) students spend much of their July in the basement of Astor during the five-week ELL/Migrant Summer School. They try to catch up academically to create a level playing field when classes restart in the fall.

Dual language education gains popularity in Gettysburg

Evening Sun (Hanover, PA)

July 28, 2014

Darren Glass couldn't help but be proud when his son, Elliott, came home from a day at kindergarten and started singing about a cow named Lola. It's a small accomplishment that any dad would be proud of, he said, but what really impressed him was that Elliott could sing the song in Spanish. Elliott is one of a growing number of students in Gettysburg's dual language immersion programs. These courses — offered at Vida Charter School and, more recently, at Gettysburg Area School District — teach children the same lessons as traditional classes, but with a twist — part of the instruction is in English and part is in Spanish. Pennsylvania does not have many programs like this, said Vida Executive Director Cynthia Maldonado, but popularity is definitely increasing.

New book featuring Latino role models strives to inspire students to be all they can be

Latina Lista

July 28, 2014

Aside from parents and teachers, role models are an essential part of every student’s learning experience. The Latino community is lucky to have many inspiring role models and next month more students will get the chance to learn about these accomplished individuals in a new nonfiction book geared to ages 8-12 titled Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes. From familiar icons such as Sonia Sotomayor, who graces the cover, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to trailblazers like Desi Arnaz, Helen Rodriguez Trias, Jaime Escalante and Roberto Clemente, the book features the life stories of 20 different iconic Latino role models.

Obama Administration Announces $2.5 Million for Tribes to Take Over Schools

Education Week

July 25, 2014

The Obama administration is moving ahead with its plans to improve the federally funded schools that serve tens of thousands of American Indian students with an announcement of $2.5 million in grants to entice tribes to take more control over educating their children. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell—whose agency is responsible for the 47,000 students who are enrolled in Bureau of Indian Education schools—announced the competitive grants.

Note: This links to content from Education Week. You can register for free to access 10 Education Week stories a month, or subscribe for unlimited access.

Getting low income students to college takes more than just academics

Hechinger Report

July 25, 2014

At a time when a college diploma is more important than ever to compete in the global economy, only 10% of students from low-income communities across the country who enroll in college are earning a degree. Pair that with the fact that the majority of African American and Latino students graduating high school don’t meet “college readiness” benchmarks (New York City reported last week fewer than a quarter of its students are ready for freshman year) and we have to conclude that public schools aren’t setting up students for long-term success. In order to tackle this nationwide challenge, we need to ask ourselves what it really means for a student to be college-ready.

East Harlem Bookstore Launches Book Drive to Aid Unaccompanied Child Immigrants

School Library Journal

July 25, 2014

As President Obama, Latin American leaders, and political pundits debate what do with the influx of 50,000 unaccompanied minors crossing into the United States from Mexico and Central America since October 1, a bookseller, a professor, and members of the El Barrio community in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood have begun a project to serve the educational and emotional needs of the detained children. East Harlem’s La Casa Azul Bookstore, in collaboration with Unaccompanied Latin American Minor Project (U-LAMP) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/Safe Passage Project, has spearheaded a book drive and a series of programs to collect Spanish-language and kid-appropriate books for young immigrants in the New York City region, and to raise awareness about their current situation.

English Language Learners In Vermont Schools

Vermont Public Radio

July 24, 2014

If you had to take a standardized test right now, how do you think you would score? Now imagine that test is in a language you can barely read. Since the English language dominates our educational system, a gap in English language ability is often equated with a gap in intelligence. We talk to Shawna Shapiro, assistant Professor of Writing & Linguistics at Middlebury College, and Susan Blethen, an ELL teacher at Burlington High School, about the challenges facing English language learners and what some educators are doing to bridge the gap.

Want to Learn a Language? Don’t Try So Hard

Time

July 24, 2014

A new study from MIT shows that trying harder can actually make some aspects of learning a new language more difficult. While researchers have known that adults have a harder time with new languages than children do, the latest findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest that adults' stronger cognitive abilities may actually trip them up. Children have a "sensitive period" for learning language that lasts until puberty, and during these years, certain parts of the brain are more developed than others. For example, they are adept at procedural memory, which study author Amy Finn describes as the "memory system we get for free." It's involved in tasks we learn unconsciously such as riding a bike, dancing, or subtle language rules. It's a system that learns from observing and from experience; neural circuits in the brain build a set of rules for constructing words and sentences by absorbing and analyzing information — like sounds — from the world around them.