ELL Literacy Tutoring: Resource List

Tutor sitting with male high school student

The following resources can support literacy-focused tutoring for English language learners (ELLs). Many of these videos and related classroom materials were developed as part of our Common Core and ELLs project with Dr. Diane August.

To see additional strategies in action, take a look at our Classroom Video library and our resource collection Strategies for ELL Success.

Topics on This Page

This resource list includes the following topics:

Getting to Know Your ELLs


Building Foundational Skills


Recommended book

Text Complexity


Note: Some of our classroom videos are part of modules that include classroom materials and reflection interviews.

Focusing on language with the Common Core

In this classroom clip, Albuquerque teacher Clara Gonzales-Espinoza walks her students through an in-depth discussion of the rich language used in a picture-book version of Cinderella. (Related resources available)

Reading Non-Fiction Text with High School ELLs

In this lesson for high school ELLs, students discuss the language used in Nelson Mandela's 1964 Court Speech "An Ideal for Which I am Prepared to Die." (Related resources available)

Increasing the level of text complexity with ELLs

Ms. Gonzales-Espinoza discusses the importance of tackling text complexity as part of standards-based instruction for all students, including ELLs. (Includes discussion questions)

Developing Background Knowledge



Educators speak about the role of background knowledge


Articles & lesson plans


Video: Using sentence frames with ELLs

ESOL specialist Sheila Majdi explains what a sentence frame is and how she might use this strategy with ELLs.

Close Reading



Answering Guiding Questions with Middle School ELLs

In this lesson, middle school students read an excerpt from the novel Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck about a man who takes a road trip with his dog. (Related resources available)

Higher-level questions: Thinking about magic

In this classroom clip, Albuquerque teacher Clara Gonzales-Espinoza leads an in-depth discussion about the nature of the magic used in a picture-book version of “Cinderella.” (Related resources available)


Developing Academic Language



Instruction of Key Academic Vocabulary with High School ELLs

In this Common Core-aligned lesson, students read a letter that Captain John Smith of the English Army wrote to Queen Anne in 1616. (Related resources available)

Writing to Sources


Writing a cooperative paragraph

Albuquerque teacher Ali Nava walks her students through a cooperative paragraph summarizing the beginning, middle, and end of Burro's Tortillas and uses the exercise as an opportunity to practice their writing skills. (Related resources available)

Writing a paragraph with high school ELLs

Learn how Michelle Lawrence helps her high school ELL students turn their brainstorm into a paragraph.

Formative Assessment

Articles & classroom tools


Assessment for English Language Learners

In this video, Ms. Samantha Kirch demonstrates the ways she uses informal assessment to gauge student understanding and provide extra practice with the concept of drawing conclusions.

Having enough data to look at progress over time

Dr. Alba Ortiz talks about the importance of having data that allows teams to examine ELLs progress in different areas over time. (Includes discussion questions)

Partnering with Multilingual Families

Tips & articles