August 2009

This newsletter is all about heading back to school, from professional development, to how to create a welcoming classroom environment.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: August, 2009

Dear Subscribers,

We hope you have had some time to relax this summer! We know it has been a difficult time for many educators around the country Colorín Colorado continues to look for new ways to bring free professional development resources to you and your colleagues in support of English language learners.

Please keep spreading the word by letting educators in your district know about Colorín Colorado as well. We look forward to sharing great resources with you throughout the school year!


The Colorín Colorado Team

This month's highlights

Featured Articles

How to Create a Welcoming Classroom Environment

The first day of school can be intimidating for English language learners, especially those who are entering a U.S. school for the first time. This article gives ideas on making your classroom a place where ELLs can feel comfortable and safe to take risks from the moment they enter the door. Also, be sure to check out the article's featured video interviews with children's author Pat Mora and teacher Amber Prentice!

Creating Literacy-Rich Environments

Research supports the effectiveness on literacy instruction of a print-rich environment for all students, including ELLs. Elements of a print-rich environment may range from books and dictionaries to labeled posters and students' stories on the walls. Learn more about this research and related strategies in Literacy-Rich Environments from The Access Center.

Recommended Web Resources: Making Students Feel at Home

From Scholastic

For more information on ways to support ELLs and draw on ELLs' primary languages in the classroom (even if you don't speak those languages), see How to Make Your ELL Students Feel at Home. The article is an excerpt from David and Yvonne Freeman's new book, English Language Learners: The Essential Guide (featured in this month's book review).


A buddy who speaks an ELL's first language can be a wonderful way to help newcomers adjust to a new school, routine, and language. Learn more in Pair Your Newcomers with Buddies by Judie Haynes.

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In the Classroom

Book Review

English Language Learners: The Essential Guide
By David Freeman and Yvonne Freeman

This book provides an excellent introduction to English language learners and effective ELL instruction. Topics include: getting to know your students, teaching language through content, and developing academic language.

The guide, which refers to a number of specific policy and instruction models throughout the country, also ties strategies to multicultural children's books, and offers suggestions for further reading on a number of topics. English Language Learners: The Essential Guide will serve as a useful tool for school administrators and classroom teachers who are new to ELL instruction as well as to veteran teachers looking for new strategies to support their own methods.

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Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at help support Colorín Colorado.

Bright Ideas that Work

See Gear Up for a New School Year! for lots of great ideas for things you can do right now to prepare for welcoming your English language learners and their families. Don't forget to explore the Hot Links at the end of the article, as well as the super School Year Start Up Check List!

Frequently Asked Questions

As you begin to plan for the new school year, you may be looking for ways to make the English language learners in your classroom feel welcome from the very first day. Check out the following FAQ for some great ideas:

Find the answers to this and many other Frequently Asked Questions about Teaching ELLs.

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Beyond the Classroom

Book of the Month

The Bus for Us
By Suzanne Bloom

Tess can't wait for the school bus to arrive! "Is this bus for us, Gus?" she continues to ask, as a taxi, ice cream truck, and fire engine pass by. The repetition of questions and answers throughout the story will make this a great read-aloud for young students and English language learners. Colorful watercolor illustrations complement the text. Bilingual edition available.

In a Word: Primary Language

The primary language is the language in which bilingual/multilingual speakers are most fluent, or which they prefer to use. This is not, however, necessarily the language first learned in life. A student's primary language may also be referred to as the first language, heritage language, native language, or dominant language (Freeman & Freeman, 2007).

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About the Colorín Colorado T·ELL·E-GRAM and

The ¡Colorín Colorado T·ELL·E-GRAM is a free monthly electronic newsletter from, created and sustained thanks to support from the American Federation of Teachers.

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We look forward to hearing from you!

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