ELL ExcELLence

June 2016

High School ELL Students Get a Taste of College

On April 19th the ELL students from North High, South High, and Williamsport High ahad the opportunity to go on a field trip to Hagerstown Community College (HCC.) Luis Flores, the Multi-Cultural Director at HCC, and Paula Moore, the supervisor of ELL, planned the trip for the ELL students to get a taste of college life. The students enjoyed meeting one another and learning about the college. Georges Daceus, a NHHS student, exclaimed, “I met some new friends.”

The students had the opportunity to tour the campus and learn about the different programs offered. They visited the gym. Newcomer Karen Echeverria from El Salvador said, “I liked the gym. It’s very big.” The students also listened to a presentation about the nursing program and learned about the computerized mannequins. “I liked the mannequins, they can talk,” explained newcomer Jose Guerra from El Salvador.

The students were excited to learn about the opportunities HCC has to offer them. “North Hagerstown High School Senior Deysi Lopez Romero said, “The trip was really fun and interesting.”

Written by Anna, Roberts, ELL Teacher North Hagerstown High School

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Lincolshire ELL student Nitya Sharma won the 2nd place award for Meritus Health's Safety Health Contest.

Congrats, Nitya.

Carlens Dornevil

Senior, Carlens Dornevil (representing Haiti), is a former Rising Star, soccer and track Leopard athlete, and member of the class of 2016. Carlens was recently selected for a tuition award for Hagerstown Community College! After his morning classes, he heads to work every day at the Smithsburg Elementary After-School Club. He enjoys his part time job and is transitioning successfully from school to the world of work. After graduation, Carlens plans to find part time or full time employment and attend Hagerstown Community College. He is interested in a future career as a police officer, and predicts that his ability to speak Haitian Creole, French, and English will be very useful in employment.

Shared Reading Makes a Difference at Williamsport High

This study investigated the impact of shared reading of informational science and social studies on reading comprehension of ELL, English Language Learner, high school students. All of the current ELL students at Williamsport High School, Maryland were asked to participate. Seventeen of the twenty-four students agreed to participate and received parent/guardian consent.

The students were split into two groups. Both groups read the same science and social studies texts with corresponding questions twice a week for six weeks. The experimental group read in a shared reading experience and the control group read independently. Data was collected using a pretest and post test with the same format as the informational texts used during the research period.

The data showed that the ELL students who had a shared reading experience for six weeks made significant progress of over two and a half points on average out of ten possible points and the ELL students who read independently, did not make any progress on average. This research data indicates that shared reading is an effective instructional method to use with ELL students to improve reading comprehension in academic content areas, such as science and social studies.

The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether using shared reading with ELL students would have a positive effect on reading comprehension using informational texts. This is important as many classroom teachers give ELL students, and struggling learners, science and social studies texts to read independently and then expect them to understand the content. This study compared data between eight ELL students who completed six weeks of shared reading with seven ELL students who completed independent reading of the same texts for six weeks. Both groups read science and social studies texts related to secondary content and answered ten comprehension questions related to each text. The experimental group read the text with the teacher, stopped to discuss key vocabulary and concepts, demonstrated important ideas from the text using classroom objects, motions, and drawings, and discussed strategies for finding answers to comprehension questions, like re-reading the text and looking for text evidence. The control group read independently, only receiving answers to direct questions from students, such as “what does this word mean?”

The results of the study suggest that the implementation of shared reading did have a positive effect on the ELL students’ ability to comprehend science and social studies texts. This is important as many classroom teachers expect ELL students and other struggling students to read information independently and then be able answer questions about the text. Other teachers read the text aloud or have one student after another read the material and then students are required to comprehend. This research indicated that the more effective method of increasing reading comprehension of ELL students is to have a shared reading in which all of the students have a copy of the text and repeat fluent reading, in addition to discussing, demonstrating, and drawing concepts and key vocabulary before, during, and after reading. During this research, the shared reading continued to the comprehension questions, with a discussion of strategies on how to decipher the answers to the corresponding questions.

Based on the data collected, the eight students in the experimental group appeared to apply skills gained in the six weeks of shared reading and applied these skills to independent reading of a similar informational text and comprehension questions. However, the data indicated that the control group did not acquire as many skills or strategies to increase their reading comprehension from repeated independent reading of the same informational texts as the experimental group.

This research indicates that classroom teachers should be trained in shared reading in order to increase reading comprehension and understanding of content for ELL students and other struggling learners. The difference in reading comprehension scores in the experimental group show that spending time discussing, demonstrating, and drawing key concepts and vocabulary, in addition to practicing fluent reading has more of a positive impact on student learning. In comparison, repeated independent reading by struggling learners did not have any overall impact on student learning. These results show that this type of instruction, where educators are asking struggling learners to read independently and answer questions regular does not work. Thus, there needs to be a shift in instruction for ELL and other struggling learners toward modeling, building skills, practicing, before release to independence, even in secondary classes.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game! An Incredible Experience For Middle School ELL Students: A Partnership between WCPS and the Hagerstown Suns

On Wednesday, May 18, approximately 45 of the county’s middle school ELL students were treated to a field trip to Municipal Stadium to watch the Hagerstown Suns’ baseball game. For many of the students it was their first time to ever see a baseball game. However, the best part of the trip for many of them came before the game even started. The students were given the incredible opportunity to have a Q & A session with several of the Suns’ Hispanic/Latino players and coaches, followed by autographs for everyone. Karla Quinteros, an 8th grader at Springfield Middle said, “I like to talk with the players because they speak Spanish and I like when they say they were from the Dominican Republic!” The field trip may not have made them all instant baseball fans, but it was definitely an experience the students will remember for a long time to come.

written by Nicole Holloman, ELL Long Term Substitute at Springfield Middle School

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Drivers Ed Classes in Spanish


Tuesdays and Thursdays



Valley Mall