ELL News Headlines

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!

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Readers Recommend a Diverse Children’s Bookshelf

As unrest over the killing of black Americans and police brutality continued across the country, Jessica Grose, the lead editor of NYT Parenting, asked experts how to talk about the protests with kids. In the interest of keeping an open dialogue about racism, she heard from pediatricians and childhood psychologists about the importance of making sure your home library has books with black people at the center of their stories. To start, children’s book authors and Times staffers gave us their favorites. We also heard from nearly a hundred readers with more recommendations of books that their kids have loved over the years. Here are 12 of the most popular suggestions we received, including books with black protagonists, plots centered on racism and activism, and beloved gems by black authors.

Developing a Bilingual Associate Degree Program for Spanish-Speaking Early Childhood Educators

In 2016, Washington, D.C. passed regulations that sought to increase the education and credentials of the early educator workforce. To meet the needs of Spanish-speaking educators, leaders at the University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) collaborated with community stakeholders and organizations, to design and implement a Spanish-English bilingual associate degree program. The program was designed to address academic, bureaucratic, linguistic, and other barriers to obtaining degrees by providing early childhood educators with the opportunity to take courses in Spanish at close to no cost, receive support with the enrollment process, be part of a cohort structure, and continue to work while earning their degrees. This brief explores the design process, key features, and supports offered to students in the program, with a look at how one local employer worked to help increase access to the program.

Me and My Abuela: The Stories that Made Me Want to Become a Storyteller

Storytelling is one of our most ancient and sacred abilities as humans. From cave drawings, to woven tapestries, to the bards in Ovid, to my abuela, whispering terrifying tales in the dark. I remember it all—me and my twin sister tugging at my grandmother’s soft, starfish-like hand, leading her to our room. These stories were told the same way her mother had told them to her—in Spanish. And language, in storytelling, makes a difference. There are words I can’t begin to translate, not because I don’t know what the English equivalent is, but because the available words are unworthy. They don’t capture either the tenderness, or wickedness, or humor. They don’t sound the same. And, since these stories were always told orally, sound also makes a difference.

Latino college graduates get a virtual, national celebration

Latino graduates from across the country were honored on Friday in a virtual celebration put on by Excelencia in Education, a national organization that works with institutions of higher education to improve Latino college enrollment and completion. “Forty percent of Latinos that go to college are the first in their families to go,” Excelencia co-founder and CEO Deborah Santiago said. “This is an important milestone. We thought as a national organization, what can we do? Even in these turbulent times, we cannot forget we’re feeding hope as well.” The hour-long celebration, which was live on Facebook, featured appearances by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation President Allan Goldston and Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas. Journalist Maria Hinojosa, host of NPR's "Latino USA," delivered a keynote speech to the graduates.

Best moments from CNN and Sesame Street's town hall on racism for kids and parents

CNN partnered with "Sesame Street" for a special town hall about racism, giving both kids and parents an opportunity to explore the current moment the nation is living through and to understand how these issues affect people. "Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism" aired Saturday morning and left no stone unturned -- discussing everything from how to fight racism when you see it and who to call when police officers are being unsafe. The hour-long program featured "Sesame Street" characters like Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita. Together, they -- along with experts -- answered questions submitted by families.

The Science of Reading

Susan Lambert, VP of early literacy instruction at Amplify and the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast, shares her thoughts on key points in the reading education debate. One question Lambert tackles is, how can educators make the most of mother-tongue literacy when teaching English learners to read in English?

Talking to Kids About Racism

Children are like sponges. They soak up news headlines and images of unrest on TV and social media. They may also be keenly attuned to conversations about current events happening at home. Parents and educators alike (and those of us now wearing both hats) should address questions about racism that arise and maintain an open dialogue with children. To help navigate the best way to do this, I asked Christiana Cobb-Dozier, a school counselor in Los Angeles, and Christian Robinson, a Sacramento-based author and illustrator of children’s books, about how to talk to children about racism. Here’s what they said.

6 Considerations for School Leaders Making a Statement About George Floyd

Leaders of K-12 schools, colleges, and universities sometimes release formal statements when acts of racial violence and injustice occur locally and elsewhere in our country. Many are writing now to their communities about the death last week of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. While these statements are meant to represent solidarity and support, they can miss the mark if not courageously constructed. Dozens of leaders have sought our counsel on what to say in this moment. Here are six things we suggest leaders who seriously aim to make a difference do in statements to make them more substantive, trustworthy, and actionable

Here’s how NYC students and teachers are making sense of George Floyd’s killing

Remote learning has been tough on 16-year-old Tai Muñoz. The freshman at Brooklyn’s Sunset Park High School has been mostly out of contact with school staff. But after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody, Tai felt compelled to reach out to a trusted teacher. “Hello, I know this is very out of the blue, but it needs to be said. If possible, can you please shed light on the recent death of George Floyd?” Tai wrote in an email to Abbey Kornhauser, their advisor and social studies teacher. Students and educators alike are struggling with how to reckon with what’s happening and have important, but difficult conversations about race and violence. Here are stories from educators and students about how they’re trying to meet this moment.