Tag Archives: ESL

Background Activation Strategies for ELs

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction.

Continue reading

Language Study: Answering the Call to Action in the Classroom

annie-spratt-54462

Written by: Jen McCreight based on a section from her book Celebrating Diversity through Language Study.


In today’s climate, many of our students’ families are feeling anxious. Anxious about whether they are welcome in the United States. Anxious about escalating disagreements and protests surrounding immigrants from countries near and far. Anxious that loved ones may be deported. Regardless of our own political beliefs, as teachers, we are called to empathize with, support, and love our students. We are called to respond to their social and emotional challenges as much as their academic ones. I am reminded of this each day that I open the newspaper or read about current events online, and over and over, the following story pops into my head, as clearly as if I had experienced it yesterday.

Continue reading

The Importance of Motivation in EL Reading Instruction

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as students move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction. 

Continue reading

Supporting English Learners’ Questioning Through Explicit Instruction

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction. 

Continue reading

Understanding the Comprehension Gap for English Learners

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. This doesn’t have to happen, researcher Ana Taboada Barber explains, if we support EL’s reading of informational texts by pairing motivation practices with explicit reading comprehension instruction. In this post, adapted from the introduction of Reading to Learn for ELs, author Ana Taboada Barber writes how learning English, for her, was about broadening her horizons.


Understanding the Comprehension Gap for English Learners

Written by Ana Taboada Barber

It is true that English is a second language for me and that I experience less certainty communicating in English than I do in my native language, Spanish. However, the label of an English Learner (EL) would not be entirely accurate. I didn’t begin learning English because I was an immigrant in an English-speaking country. Learning English was the result of my parents’ choice. My mother spoke English fluently and believed in its value as a lingua franca—a bridge language, a language spoken worldwide that makes communication possible among people who do not share their first language. For me, learning English was an enrichment activity, a way to broaden my horizons.

Continue reading

How Can Teachers Address the Needs of English Language Learners

English Learners are seen through a deficit lens, particularly in mainstream classrooms in which teachers have little or no training in how to meet their needs. In No More Low Expectations for English Learners, esteemed EL researcher Jana Echevarría argues that teacher attitude affects student achievement, and describes what best practice methods for supporting ELs academic achievement look like.  Julie Nora, an educator and advocate, offers strategies to provide the instructional supports ELs need for both language acquisition and content-area learning.ntbt-el-aug31

Continue reading