Recent Research on English Language Learners

What characteristics identify ELLs who will struggle most?

The English language learner (ELL) who starts school in 6th grade is just as likely to become proficient in English as his kid brother who starts school in kindergarten, according to recent studies of ELL school populations in Arizona, Utah and Nevada. While age was not a significant predictor of which students would struggle more to reach proficiency, other… Tell Me More »

English Language Learners: How to tell difference between shyness and social withdrawal?

Many English-Language Learners (ELLs) can seem socially withdrawn to their teachers because of their difficulties with language.  When is this behavior cause for concern? A new study in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools says educators should consider if and how ELLs’ behavior differs across English-speaking and native-language contexts. Are students less shy and… Tell Me More »

ELLs’ rate of learning of sight words depends on oral proficiency

Acquiring sight words is an important part of becoming a good reader. Teachers should be aware that the ability of English Language Learners’ (ELLs) to acquire sight words for reading depends on their oral language proficiency, says The Reading Teacher. This suggests that teachers should work on both language development and skills instruction for students… Tell Me More »

Key to improving ELLs’ essay writing is helping them understand concept of ‘theme’

Many secondary teachers are reluctant to require that English Language Learners (ELLs) and other struggling students to write analytical essays because they feel the required skills are too sophisticated.  Yet, students do not have the option of avoiding high-stakes, state-mandated exams that assess higher level writing abilities. A major challenge teachers face in helping students improve… Tell Me More »

Integrating geography with reading instruction works well for ELLs

During the incredibly shrinking school day, teachers are finding less and less time for subjects such as history, social studies and geography because the highest priority in many schools is to build students’ literacy and math skills. To offset this trend, schools have been integrating the curriculum, weaving instruction of history, social studies or geography… Tell Me More »

Benefits of intensive 1st-grade reading intervention with ELLs evident 1 year later

Hispanic English Language Learners (ELLs) with reading difficulties in 1st grade who received a very intensive reading intervention in Spanish or English continued to show improved performance in their core reading instruction language a year after they received the intervention, says a recent study in the American Educational Research Journal. “The strength of these results… Tell Me More »

After-school program helps adolescent ELLs build academic vocabulary with games, other activities

Strategies that have been shown to be effective with elementary students can be used successfully to teach academic vocabulary to English Language Learners (ELLs) in middle school, according to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. These strategies were effectively used in a  20-session after-school program called the “Language Workshop” that engaged adolescent students in building… Tell Me More »

ELL children act as ‘literacy brokers’ for parents

Getting a permission slip from home is one example of the “literacy brokering” that a child from an immigrant family engages in to help family members understand the unfamiliar texts and literary practices of their new home, writes Kristen Perry in a recent study in Reading Research Quarterly. Children, themselves often English Language Learners (ELLs),… Tell Me More »