Four students talking at a library table which is covered with books.

We’d like to start off the new year by sharing an example for developing text dependent questions for ELLs in the middle grades. We have selected a 6th-8th grade exemplar text in the category of Informational Texts: Science, Mathematics and Technology titled “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag” by Henry Petroski.

Boy reading.

I want to examine some ideas for using text-dependent questions with ELLs. Since I’m a big fan of writing two-part blog posts, first I’ll outline some big picture issues in terms of what TDQs are and some considerations in writing TDQs for ELLs.

Drawing of children watching people on a stage.

In this post, I’ll highlight some information from Tim Shanahan’s article about background knowledge in American Educator. I’ll then share a table and flow chart adapted from the article that will help you decide how much background knowledge to teach to ELLs.


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