Reading In Middle and High School

English language learners (ELLs) enter U.S. schools in all grade levels, and with a wide range of backgrounds, reading skills, English language proficiency, and content knowledge. Older ELLs (and their teachers) face many of the same challenges as ELLs in the early grades, as well as a number of unique ones.

This section provides a number of related resources for teaching reading in grades 4-12.

Reading Tip Sheets for ELLs in Grades 4-12

These tip sheets from Colorín Colorado and the American Federation of Teachers include information on what to do first, vocabulary instruction, and age-appropriate reading strategies. They are available in English and Spanish.

Literacy Development for Latino Students

Bobbi Ciriza Houtchens is a veteran high school English and ELD teacher from San Bernadino, CA. In these excerpts from The Best for Our Children: Critical Perspectives on Literacy for Latino Students (Teachers College Press, 2000), Houtchens discusses her strategies for engaging even the most reluctant of readers.

Articles from Colorín Colorado

These articles cover a wide range of topics, from phonics instruction for older students to motivating ELLs to read.

The articles in our Adolescent Literacy section also provide other strategies for helping ELLs develop the skills they need in order to "read to learn" during the middle school and high school years.

For additional information and resources on upper grades, take a look at our monthly electronic newsletter, the T·ELL·E-GRAM. It offers research-based support and field-tested ideas to preK-12 educators of ELLs.

See our sister site,, for great resources related to adolescent literacy. Highlights include:

Other Websites

Adolescent Literacy Web Resources: These websites include resources for adolescents from libraries, non-profits, and research institutions.


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