English Learners

Overview of the Common Core State Standards Initiatives for ELLs: A TESOL Issue Brief

Summary: This issue brief, from the TESOL International Association, is an overview of the Common Core State Standards that also outlines some of the initiatives in place to address the needs of English learners (ELs) in relation to the Standards. Excerpts from this resource may be useful in study groups...

ELLs at the Center: Rethinking High Stakes Testing

Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono Summary: How do we nurture intellectual curiosity, prepare students for a global economy, and validate and celebrate students’ cultures, language diversity and multiple literacies in an era of accountability and high stakes testing? The authors offer suggestions for ways teacher leaders can be advocates...

Writing in Home Dialects: Choosing a Written Discourse in a Teacher Education Class

Author: Eileen Kennedy Summary:In exploring how to encourage her Caribbean teacher education students to use their vernacular dialects (vernacular Englishes, Spanish, and Haitian Creole) in narrative writing, Kennedy discovered reluctant writers who lacked confidence, in part because their use of home languages had always been suppressed. Over time, she helped...

Breaking the Boundaries of Texts: Video Game and Literacy Curriculum Development for English Language Learners

Author: Nora A. Peterman, Lan Ngo, Robert J. LeBlanc, Susan Goldstein Summary: This article describes a study of a literacy video game designed to help English learners negotiate new vocabulary and unfamiliar language structures as they read. The game, collaboratively created on Gamestar Mechanic by a team including a public...

Understanding Community Literacies as Foundational to Teaching Excellence

Author: Toni M. Williams, Diane DeFord, Amy Donnelly, Susi Long, Julia López-Robertson, Mary E. Styslinger, and Nicole Walker Summary: This article from the NCTE journal Language Arts reviews several professional books that explore issues of equity and access. The books reviewed share the view that, as educators, we can support...

Responsive Teacher Inquiry and Innovation in Teaching ELA with Diverse Learners (NWP Radio)

Guests: Steve Athanases and Juliet Wahleithner Summary: In this clip from NWP Radio, Steve Athanases and Juliet Wahleithner describe a preservice program at UC-Davis that incorporates teacher inquiry. The speakers provide a rationale for including inquiry during field experiences in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms as a way to turn students’ attention...

Book Review: English Learners, Academic Literacy, and Thinking: Learning in the Challenge Zone

Author: Debra Schneider Summary: How can we best support English learners in classrooms where rigorous curricula focus on intellectual practices across content areas? How can we engage in practices that enable students to construct rather than reproduce knowledge, develop deep understanding of disciplinary knowledge and forge connections between school and...

Bicultural Literacy: A Personal Exploration

Author: Marcia Venegas-Garcìa Summary: Educator Marcia Venegas–Garcia tells her personal bicultural story to “encourage…particularly those in power, to recognize that all children have their stories of literacy,” and to encourage a “less myopic,” more diverse view of teaching and learning. This personal essay, along with others, could well serve as...

Building Culturally Responsive Units of Study: From Texas to Mexico and Back

Author: Katie McKay Summary: By crafting units of study that cast immigration as part of the American historical process, a teacher-consultant at the Heart of Texas Writing Project creates opportunities for her bilingual fourth-graders to explore immigration in a trusting and productive classroom environment. This article can support discussions about...

Meeting the Needs of Racially and Linguistically Diverse Students through Courageous Conversations

Author: South Coast Writing Project Summary: Although conversations about race and diversity are not easy, they can allow teacher leaders to examine and interrogate their beliefs and practices to determine the direction of their teaching and of their writing project sites. Teachers at the UCLA Writing Project found their reading...