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.

California Puts More Attention on Long-Term English-Language Learners

Education Week

December 19, 2014

Nearly 75 percent of California's English-language learners in grades 6-12 have been in the state's schools for seven or more years and still fall short of enough fluency in English to succeed academically, a new report finds. Using a groundbreaking law that requires the state to define and identify "long-term English learners," and for school districts to collect and report data on such students, Californians Together, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, released new state data that show that 350,000 middle and high school students across California are long-term ELLs.

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.

Generation One: Helping Kids Learn English — And Spanish, Too

KERA Public Broadcasting (TX)

December 19, 2014

In recent decades, demographic changes have transformed school districts in North Texas. Schools have also transformed the way they teach English — by teaching Spanish, too. At Bowie Elementary in Grand Prairie, Spanish-speaking kids are learning both languages as early as pre-kindergarten.

School Library Journal: Top 10 Latino Books of 2014

School Library Journal

December 19, 2014

This year's top selections for children and teens about and by Latinos are as diverse and multidimensional as the culture they represent. From Pura Belpré Award-winners to debut authors hailing from Argentina, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, these stellar offerings speak not just to kids of Hispanic descent, but to all readers. As it proved difficult to choose a top pick, this committee has elected to put these works on equal footing, be they bilingual, Spanish-language, or in English.

New York State Knocks Down Enrollment Barriers for Unaccompanied Minors

Education Week

December 18, 2014

The New York State Board of Regents approved an emergency order today to ensure students are able to enroll in the state's public schools regardless of their immigration status. The new policy prohibits schools from asking about immigration status of students or their families during the enrollment process.

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.

Generation One: How Schools Can Help Immigrant Students

KERA Public Broadcasting (TX)

December 18, 2014

Julian Vasquez Heilig has spent years studying how schools educate immigrants. He's a professor at California State University, Sacramento. He previously worked at the University of Texas at Austin. He shares his thoughts on what can be done to help immigrant students, high-stakes testing, and a possible breakthrough in North Texas.

"Clifford the Big Red Dog" Creator Norman Bridwell Dies at 86

School Library Journal

December 18, 2014

Clifford the Big Red Dog creator Norman Bridwell died on December 12 in Martha's Vineyard. The author-illustrator was 86. Bridwell's picture books about Clifford, a cheery red canine who starts off as a tiny puppy but grows to the size of a house due to the love of his owner, Emily Elizabeth, have been charming readers since 1962.

ETS Recommends Changes for English-Language Proficiency Assessments

Education Week

December 17, 2014

A new white paper from testmaker Educational Testing Service offers recommendations for how to improve English-language proficiency assessments that are used to how evaluate how English-learners are progressing toward learning the language, as well as meeting the language demands in the Common Core State Standards.

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.

Generation One: She Escaped Violence for a Fresh Start in Texas

KERA Public Broadcasting (TX)

December 17, 2014

Over the summer, Texas was in the spotlight for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. It's not a new phenomenon. A couple of years ago, Dilcia M. Asencio Mazariegos escaped a violent home life in Guatemala for a fresh start in North Texas. The 18-year-old is safe in Plano. But her new life in Texas is filled with challenges. She's learning English, going to school, juggling jobs — and wondering about her future.

The Latest Research on Bilingualism and the Brain

The Diane Rehm Show

December 17, 2014

Speaking multiple languages is like exercise for your brain. That's according to a growing body of research suggesting that bilingualism can have cognitive benefits beyond the realm of language use. Recent studies say it may improve the brain's ability to multitask, and could even mean a four- to five- year delay in the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms. Some believe this area of research will advance our understanding of how to keep our brains healthy longer, and could prompt people to reconsider the value of bilingual education. The latest on the impact of bilingualism on the brain.

K-12, Housing Partner to Aid Homeless Students

Education Week

December 16, 2014

His four stepchildren didn't put it into words, but Bobby Gantt saw the insecurity that gripped them as they spent much of their young lives moving between temporary living situations. But, over the last few years, the family has been stabilized by an unusual partnership between their children's school and the Tacoma, Wash., housing authority.

Generation One: Going From Spanish (Or Urdu Or Arabic) To English

KERA Public Broadcasting (TX)

December 16, 2014

The second story in the KERA / American Graduation series on immigrant students in Texas takes a look at how the Grapevine-Colleyville school district is responding to dramatic demographic changes. In recent years, the number of students learning English has climbed 60 percent. The district partnered with the police department to create the Grapevine Community Outreach Center. And the district launched the Language Assessment Center over the summer. Kids who aren't native English speakers get tested at the center and are then placed in the right language program.

How ‘Christmas’ should teachers get? Navigating the ‘December Dilemma’

PBS NewsHour

December 16, 2014

It's called "the December Dilemma." As the winter holidays approach, schools are aware that the issue of separating church and state is not just something students encounter in social studies classes, but a real and present concern for teachers and administrators. Is it OK to decorate the school and the classroom for Christmas? What kinds of concerts and plays are constitutional in a public school?

Houston to Open Arabic Immersion Elementary School

Education Week

December 15, 2014

The Houston Independent School District plans to open one of the nation's first public Arabic immersion elementary schools in fall 2015. Superintendent Terry Grier told Education Week the move is part of his push to graduate more bilingual students. The district opened a Mandarin Chinese immersion school in 2012 and plans to have about 50 schools with Spanish dual-language programs next year after doubling the number last year, the Houston Chronicle reports. "We're in the energy capital of the world," Grier said in an interview with Education Week. "A lot of our medical doctors speak Arabic."

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.

New Mentor Program Offered to Latino Students

The Des Moines Register (IA)

December 15, 2014

It's not every day that your middle school principal visits you at home. Hampton-Dumont Middle School Principal Tony Spradlin recently visited the homes of Alex Van Cleave and Pedro Castillo, both in eighth grade, and Daniel Sanchez Garcia, seventh grade. Spradlin wanted to introduce himself to their parents because he is serving as their mentor through a new program being offered for seventh and eighth students called Al Éxito — or To Success.

Generation One: In a Land of Strangers, Paving His Own Path

KERA Public Broadcasting (TX)

December 15, 2014

In Texas, one in three children has a parent who's an immigrant — or they're immigrants themselves. They have to learn a new language, adapt to a different culture, and try to fit into a community that may not embrace newcomers. The public media American Graduate initiative is getting to know these students, starting with David Kapuku, a student from the Democratic Republic of Congo who faced a rocky beginning when he entered a U.S. high school and now is helping other students make the transition.

Sherman Alexie and Jacqueline Woodson to Speak at BookCon 2015

School Library Journal

December 12, 2014

A year after being heavily criticized for only featuring white authors on panels, BookCon is teaming with the advocacy group We Need Diverse Books to host two gatherings that spotlight authors of various backgrounds, including National Book Award winners Sherman Alexie and Jacqueline Woodson, at BookCon 2015.

Tenement Museum Offers Workshops for Adult English Learners

ABC News

December 12, 2014

The actress playing a real-life teenage Jewish immigrant in 1916 never stepped out of character as she talked about the hardships of living in three small rooms with nine family members. Her captive audience of 11 squeezed into her tiny apartment at the historic Tenement Museum in lower Manhattan were immigrants themselves, some recently arrived in New York City from Venezuela, Mali and other far-flung nations.

5 Latino Holiday Traditions to Share with Your Child

NBC News Latino

December 12, 2014

As the end of the year quickly approaches, parents have a unique opportunity to develop their children's cultural identity by sharing family holiday traditions with them. Some of Latin America's most recognized — and most beautiful — traditions are associated with this time of year. And exposing children to these moments is a way to boost not only your child's appreciation of their heritage, but self-confidence, as well.

Los Angeles District a 'Safe Haven' for Immigrant Families

Education Week

December 11, 2014

The Los Angeles Unified School District has declared itself a safe haven for families who want to learn more about President Barack Obama's executive action that would protect millions of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation. The district sent a letter to parents Tuesday advising them to be on the lookout for potential scams and people promising quick fixes.

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.

Obama in Nashville: Casa Azafrán Offers Nashville New Diversity

USA Today

December 11, 2014

It was one thing for Danielle Winters to hear her daughter talk about her new friends. It was another to see the preschoolers dance together. Winters got the chance last week at the Casa Azafrán community center where her 4-year-old daughter, Amaya, attends one of Nashville's newest preschools — and where President Obama spoke about immigration Tuesday.