Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!
A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners
  • small text
  • medium text
  • large text
  • print

English Language Learner Instruction in Middle and High School

Featuring Dr. Deborah Short discussing effective instructional strategies for teaching English language learner students in middle and high school.

AFT logo

This webcast was made possible by AFT Teachers, a division of the American Federation of Teachers, as part of a Colorín Colorado partnership between AFT and Reading Rockets.

Click below for the following:

For technical questions, please see the About Webcasts page.

Program description

This 45-minute webcast is a thorough introduction to the challenges facing teachers of English language learners in middle and high school. Dr. Short will discuss how to teach content to late-entry English language learners and how to ensure reading comprehension for success in all content areas.

Dr. Short will also review effective instructional strategies and introduce why "newcomer schools" are effective in preparing English language learners for the challenges of grade-level academic content.


Delia Pompa is the moderator of this webcast. She is the Vice President of the Center for Community Educational Excellence, at the National Council of La Raza.


Deborah Short is the Senior Research Associate for the the Language Education and Academic Development division of the Center for Applied Linguistics.

Recommended readings

The articles and books below were chosen by Reading Rockets to help you learn more about this issue.

Articles about instruction for middle and high school ELLs

Books and additional articles by our presenter

The below links to and CAL-Store are provided for your convenience. A portion of your purchase, through these links, helps support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

Additional articles and books

Discussion questions

  1. Review student demographic information for your school or school district. Does your ELL population reflect the trends described by Dr. Short? Specifically, what percentage of students is ELL this school year as compared to five years ago? What is the primary language spoken by ELLs at home?
  2. The term "English language learner" is a broad term. Describe the diverse population that falls into this category.
  3. Dr. Short described four challenges facing middle and high school teachers in terms of educating ELL students. Describe the ways your school is addressing those challenges. In addition, describe other challenges that you face as a faculty in educating your ELL students. Then, brainstorm some solutions to those challenges.
  4. Consider the objectives for one content area you teach, and consider the key language features for that content. In what ways are you already incorporating some aspects of the SIOP model? Share those strategies with your colleagues. What did you learn from watching the 6th grade social studies lesson that you could incorporate into your classroom?
  5. Describe the similarities and differences between the SIOP plan for teaching reading processes and what you know about effective strategy instruction for middle and high school students.

* To view this file, you'll need a copy of Acrobat Reader. Most computers already have it installed. If yours does not, you can download it now.