Just in case I want to read about the education of English-language learners on this rainy day on the East Coast, (the rain is welcome here after such a long dry spell), there are a lot of recent publications to choose from.
Scholastic Inc. has published English Learners in American Classrooms: 101 Questions, 101 Answers, by James Crawford and Stephen Krashen. The book answers practical questions, such as “Do ELLs need to be taught English phonics?” The authors’ short answer is that teaching ELLs the most straightforward phonics rules can be useful, but drilling them in complex and irregular rules probably isn’t.
For help on how to teach science, WestEd, a research agency, has come out with an update of an earlier publication. The new one is called Making Science Accessible to English Learners: A Guidebook for Teachers, Updated Edition. It’s written by John Carr, Ursula Sexton, and Rachel Lagunoff. The book is designed to help middle and high school science teachers reach out to ELLs in their classrooms.
Reading expert Margarita Calderon also recently mentioned to me that Benchmark Education has released materials she’s written for teaching adolescents who are ELLs how to read. You can find an eight-page brochure about the materials, called Rigor, under the “News and Special Offers” column to the righthand side of the Web site. (See my earlier post, “Teach a Teenager to Read.”)
Lastly, the International Reading Association has released a paper about ELLs and literacy. I learned about this from Larry Ferlazzo, a high school English teacher who has a blog about ELLs. The paper is called, “Key Issues and Questions in English-Language Learners Literacy Research.” One problem identified is that most of the research on ELLs is on Spanish-speakers; the paper says studies need to include speakers of other languages as well. While pulling up the paper online, I noticed that the association also has a section of its Web site devoted to resources for the education of ELLs.
There’s a lot more help out there for teachers of ELLs than there was nearly eight years ago, when I started writing about this group of students.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.