Back to School

Ideas to start the year off right

It's time to go back to school! Whether you're a novice or an old pro, we have some ideas and resources to get you ready and set for the best school year yet!

If you're a classroom teacher or paraprofessional, odds are you have at least one student who's an English language learner (ELL), if not a whole room full. You know these kids are eager to learn; and you probably also know that teaching them can be a challenge.

That's why Colorín Colorado offers free, research-based resources for teaching English language learners to read and succeed.

Here, we've gathered a number of resources to help you kick off the new school year with the tools and information you need to teach the ELLs in your class.

school children walking

10 million school-age children (5 to 17) who speak a language other than English at home. Most of them (7.1 million) speak Spanish at home.

— Source: American FactFinder

Resources for first year teachers

The first year of teaching is tough. Everything is new — the students; the school's procedures; your relationship with fellow teachers, administrators, and parents; what you plan to do and teach each day; your classroom management and teaching style; and much more.

The following resources and websites help new teachers navigate their first year:

First Year Teacher Course

This self-paced, self-study, free online course consists of ten modules that explain how to teach reading. First Year Teacher was developed by our sister site, Reading Rockets.

First Year Teacher Column

Written by Reading Rockets staff experts, this First Year Teacher Column answers questions submitted by upcoming first year teachers.

Links for new teachers

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Frequently asked questions about ELLs

Here are some common questions that teachers have about English language learners (ELLs). Click on the links below for answers to these questions.

For more answers to questions like these about English language learners, visit our Frequently Asked Questions section, and check out the T.ELL.E-GRAM.

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We have provided the links to below for your convenience. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Reading Rockets project. Thank you for your support!

To view our recommended children's books, click here.

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ESL activities and resources

Brown University Diversity Kit

This publication brings together current research on human development and cultural diversity. It explores issues of diversity in education that are essential for schools and teachers who are committed to quality education for all students.

Teaching Reading

ELLs will need additional support in learning how to read. The strategies on the following pages will help you to provide this much-needed assistance in the context of your everyday teaching.

Make sure to browse through our Bright Ideas that Work, submitted by classroom teachers.

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Additional resources: Print & use!

aft toolkit

Colorín Colorado — AFT Toolkit for Teachers

Find useful information about Latino cultures and values, as well as helpful suggestions for involving parents in the classroom. Parent workshops with handouts, plus video components in English and Spanish, focus on PreK-3 literacy development.

ELL Starter Kit for Educators

ell starter kit

Provisions in the No Child Left Behind legislation require that schools be held accountable for the adequate yearly progress for English language learners as a subgroup. Here you will find monitoring forms to make it easier for you to respond when questions arise about a student's placement, instruction, special services, and grading.

tip sheet

Multilingual Reading Tip Sheets for Parents

Try the activities and repeat the ones your child enjoys. Some of them, like "read with your child for 15 minutes each day," are helpful no matter what age your child is. To help you reach out to the parents of your ELL students, we now offer these tip sheets in a total of 10 languages!

If you're looking for even more back to school resources, visit our sister sites, Reading Rockets and LD OnLine.

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