Keys to Success with ELLs



These keys to success come from Christina Celic and her book English Language Learners Day by Day K-6.


1.      Raise the bar

a.      Teach the same rigorous and challenging curriculum expected for the grade level.

b.      Align all your instruction to state standards,

c.      Hold all ELLs accountable for their learning through continual assessment.

2.      Teach language and content together

a.      Recognize that language and content must be developed simultaneously.

b.      Create language objectives that help students meet literacy and content objectives.

c.      Focus on developing the academic language ELLs need to be successful with the curriculum.

3.      Integrate Instruction

a.      Weave  together content area studies and literacy throughout the day and throughout a unit of study.

b.      Provide multiple opportunities  for ELLs to hear, speak, and write academic language related to a content area topic.

4.      Differentiate instruction

a.      Balance whole class, small group, and individual instruction to meet ELLs’ varying linguistic and academic needs.

b.      Provide academic interventions when necessary based on your continual  assessment.

c.      Use a visual approach with pictures, graphic organizers, sketches, media and realia (real life objects).

d.      Explicitiy model what you  are teaching and what you expect students to do.

e.      Use hands-on approach,

f.        Use collaborative learning structures.

5.      Connect learning to students

a.      Activate students’ background knowledge and experiences to contextualize new learning.

b.      Build background knowledge when necessary to understanding new information.

c.      Create a valued place in the classroom for students’ backgrounds to foster an accepting learning environment.

6.      Use student’s native language to support learning

a.      Understand the positive effect this has on academic performance in English.

b.      Use the first language(s) as a resource, whether you are bilingual , ESL, or mainstream classroom.

7.      Be consistent

a.      Structure a consistent daily schedule, routine, rules and procedures so ELLs know what they’re expected to do in the classroom.

b.      Use the same words or phrases consistently to signal instructional directions.

8.      Involve families

    1. Provide ways for all family members to participate actively in their children’s education, regardless of their English language proficiency or academic background.
    2. Keep families informed of their children’s progress and ways they can support learning