September 2012

This month, we are featuring some great resources for the fall, including information on language acquisition, a guide to federal policies that impact ELLs, and a number of new children's booklists celebrating Hispanic Heritage!

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: September, 2012

Dear Subscribers:

This month, we are featuring some great resources for the fall, including information on language acquisition, a guide to federal policies that impact ELLs, and a number of new children's booklists celebrating Hispanic Heritage!

We look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas as you look through these resources.


The Colorín Colorado Team

Don't Miss...

Updated! AFT Toolkit for Teachers: Reaching Out to Parents of ELLs

Take a look at the updates to our popular toolkit, such as a new parent workshop on helping children become successful readers and 200 children's book titles geared towards Latino families. Video clips and a PDF of the new toolkit are available through Colorín Colorado. Information on ordering hard copies for a small fee can be found on the second page of the toolkit.

New on Colorín Colorado

Hispanic Heritage Booklists

We are excited to present more than 15 new Hispanic Heritage children's booklists on Colorín Colorado! Booklists are organized by topics that can be used throughout the year and feature a number of titles published in recent years, as well as earlier favorites. Some of the new booklists focus on music, art, biographies of famous Latinos and Latinas, folk tales, and neighborhood stories from the barrio. For additional titles, see the books listed in our updated AFT Toolkit for Teachers.

Hispanic Heritage Classroom Resources

Our Hispanic Heritage Resources include a number of puzzles, activities, and recommended educational websites for students of all ages.

Monica Brown Interview

Monica Brown is the award-winning author of children's books such as My Name Is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/Me llamo Celia: La vida de Celia Cruz and Waiting for the Biblioburro. Our complete interview with Monica is now online, in which she offers a behind-the-scenes look at her work and asks, "How far would you go for a book?" Some of the clips are also posted in Spanish.

Research & Reports

Serving English Learners: Laws, Policies, and Regulations

This policy guide, written for Colorín Colorado by Dr. Debbie Zacarian, provides an overview of federal ELL policy in a user-friendly way and describes how these regulations are put into practice in our schools. The guide focuses on ELL identification, instruction, assessment, and parent communication. To find information about your state ELL policies, see our updated ELL resources map.

Note: This article focuses on current NCLB legislation as of its writing in early 2012. For updated information regarding NCLB waivers and ELLs, see the report below. For information on some of the other federal policies that impact ELLs, see the Office of Civil Rights website and the Department of Justice website.

Report: Using No Child Left Behind Waivers to Improve English Language Learner Education

With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, states were for the first time held accountable for the academic achievement of the English language learners enrolled in their schools. A decade later, however, ELL students continue to perform significantly below their English-speaking peers on national- and state-level measures of academic progress. In 2011, President Barack Obama announced that certain requirements of NCLB could be waived for states that proposed reforms designed to improve education outcomes, and he specifically targeted several reforms related to ELL students. For more information, see this recent paper by the Center for American Progress, which outlines how the waiver application review process encourages states to address the needs of ELL students in three principle areas: 1) Meeting college- and career-ready expectations for all students; 2) Creating state-developed differentiated recognition, accountability, and support; and 3) Supporting effective leadership and instruction.

In the Classroom

Language Acquisition: An Overview

Learning a new language requires time, effort, and patience. Fortunately, language researchers have developed a general outline of language acquisition that helps explain the process that language learners go through to develop skills in a new language. This article introduces readers to the stages of language acquisition and offers strategies designed to support ELL instruction at different stages.

Webcast: Academic Language

This webcast featuring Dr. Robin Scarcella provides an overview of academic language instruction for English language learners, as well as instructional strategies, activity ideas, and recommended resources.

Language Objectives for English Language Learners

In this article written for Colorín Colorado, Jennifer Himmel of the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) provides an overview of what language objectives are, how to use them to support the development of ELLs' academic language in content-area classes, and how they can be used to create lessons aligned to content and language proficiency standards.

Video Bonus: Don't miss the featured video clip from expert Dr. Cynthia Lundgren about strategies for writing language objectives.

Recommended Resources

Between Two Worlds: Access to Second Language Acquisition

By David E. and Yvonne S. Freeman

In the third edition of this title by ELL experts David E. and Yvonne S. Freeman, the authors present the most up-to-date research from the field regarding second language acquisition and best practices for ELLs in a format that is accessible and easy to use. Topics include a number of student case studies, an overview of the theories of language acquisition and different models bilingual education, suggestions for teaching reading to second language learners, ideas for teaching academic language, and in-depth information on how a school's cultural orientation impacts student language learning. Each chapter also presents related discussion questions, as well as numerous examples from the classroom and teacher reflections.

Related video clips, professional development resources, and the first chapter of the book, Who Are Our English Language Learners?, are available through the Heinemann website.

Freeman, D. and Freeman, Y. (2011). Between Two Worlds: Access to Second Language Acquisition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

New Professional Booklist: Language Acquisition and Instruction

For additional books about language acquisition and instruction, take a look at our newest professional booklist!

Books & Authors

Book of the Month

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina
By Monica Brown
Illustrated by Sara Palacios

Meet Marisol McDonald, a spunky young girl with fiery red hair and brown skin who wears green polka dots with purple stripes, mixes English and Spanish, and eats peanut butter and jelly burritos. Everyone tells her she doesn't match, until one day she tries matching and discovers that it makes her miserable. At the end of the day, however, her teacher shares a special secret with her and lets her know she likes Marisol for who she is: a creative, bilingual Peruvian-Scottish-American!

This poignant story, based on Monica Brown's own experiences as a child of being told that "she didn't match," celebrates each individual's unique traits and reminds children that it's ok not to fit into boxes that other people may put you into. Bilingual text.

Related Resources

September Book Giveaway: Monica Brown

Enter our raffle a signed copy of one of the following titles from Monica Brown!

  • Chavela and the Magic Bubble
  • Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina*
  • My Name Is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/Me llamo Gabito: La vida de Gabriel García Márquez*
  • Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People
  • Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/Lado a lado: La historia de Dolores Huerta y César Chávez*

*Bilingual editions.

To enter, please send an e-mail to Colorín Colorado with "Book giveaway" in the subject by 11:59 p.m. on October 12, 2012 and indicate your title of choice!

[One entry per family. Winners of any previous Book Giveaways are ineligible to win any other Book Giveaways for a period of one (1) year from the date of the Book Giveaway. See complete contest rules here.]