Supporting ESL/ELL Students

English Language Learners in the Inclusive Classroom

Statistics of ELL/ESL Students and How These Correlate to Teachers' Feelings

The number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the United States increased 72% between 1992 and 2002(Zehler, Hopstock & Fleischman, 2003). Also, now ELL students comprise approximately 2 percent of the total school population. In the next few years, children from a wide variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds will comprise from 75-100% of student enrollment in America’s 15 largest school systems (Brock,2001). With this large influx of English as a Second Language students, teachers tend view ESL/ELL students as uninterested, tired, "out of the loop", and disruptive when in reality these students don't process information and understand what is going on in the same way that native English-speaking students do.

First Things First: Comprehension and How It Affects ESL/ELL Students?

Teachers should teach all students, especially the ESL/ELL students to be aware of their thinking, think strategically (refers to thinking about reading in ways that enhance learning and understanding), and recognize the power of their own thinking (Harvey & Goudvis, 2013). With this, the focus of comprehension are the fact that students need to be able to sift, sort, and evaluate all of the information that comes at them each and every day(Harvey & Goudvis, 2013). . Being able to ask questions and focus on strategies that aid in comprehension helps all students especially English Language Learners in literacy instruction and the development of their second language acquisition
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Sentence Walls

Sentence walls, which are similar to word walls, help in enhancing language and content for ESL/ELL students. Sentence walls provide a visual building of language (ex: phrases and sentences) to help students communicate in discussion concerning literacy(Carrier & Tatum, 2006) .The sentences focus on linking new vocabulary words, describing and naming topics in each content area, and also connecting to content area vocabulary from the language objectives of the lesson in which this should be done during the context of the lesson(Carrier & Tatum, 2006).

Informational Picture Books

Researchers suggest that ELLs' participation in literacy learning needs to be understood from cultural and social aspects leading to the implementation of informational picture books (Hadaway & Mundy, 1999). . A few changes in the way that you present information to ESL/ELL students can greatly alter their comprehension and knowledge of the literacy topics in a positive manner. Through this method, ESL/ELL students can be great learners and active participators in the community of learning.

Storybook Reading

The strategy of using storybook reading helps to build the vocabulary and comprehension skills of primary grade English-language learners with reading difficulties (Hickman, Pollard, & Vaughn, 2004) .Teachers of ESL/ELL students need to focus on activating background knowledge, integrating the teaching of word meaning within context, making sure to address all basic vocabulary that is hard to visualize, providing discussion and making sure that the students provide higher level responses while at the same time using texts that are relevant to their culture (Hickman, Pollard, & Vaughn, 2004 .This strategy can bring about a greater sense of change when it comes to how ESL/ELL students approach oral language development and comprehension.
Ask Mr. Bear children's story book read aloud, written by Marjorie Flack

Written Conversations

This strategy is used as a communicative piece that is used for ESL/ELL students to explore writing and their surrounding worlds(Van Sluys & Tropp, 2006) .Students engage in face-to-face chats on paper which offer student’s opportunities to share thinking and use language with one another (Van Sluys & Tropp, 2006). It invites students to talk about what they know and what they do not know when it comes to different topics in the classroom. It also gives them a chance to integrate their culture and way of living into their everyday activities

Modified Guided Reading Approach (MGR)

This strategy goes along with Guided Reading in which students on the same reading and comprehension level have the chance to work in small groups with the teacher. It occurs when ESL/ELL students gain additional language-learning opportunities that native speakers usually pick up easily (Avalos et al., 2007-2008) . MGR aims to increase automaticity and improve comprehension of text through understanding of the reading process (Avalos et al., 2007-2008). MGR has been shown to provide ESL/ELL students with the understanding that reading is about creating and gaining meaning from text. With this, teachers are able to monitor ELL student’s progress, meet needs in order to facilitate literacy and language learning and enable students to self-extend reading and language ability (Avalos et al., 2007-2008).
Guided Reading with ESL Elementary Students


The Educator's Room shares a list of strategies and age appropriate ways to accommodate ESL/ELL students in user-friendly ways!:

Pinterest is a great resource to use when searching for activities that relate to a specific topic that will be discussed in a literacy-based classroom (ex: grammar, spelling, phonics)!: is a great resource to use to take the edge off of ESL/ELL students plus give them the chance to actually have fun while learning literacy concepts and skills!: focuses on worksheets and printables that teachers and parents can use with assisting beginner and intermediate ESL/ELL students on topics such as adjectives and adverbs, articles, conjunctions, parts of speech, syllables, vocabulary, etc.:

ReadingRockets has a host of search material and resources that helps teachers and parents focus on best practices for Ells, to strategies that assist ELLs with comprehension, to games that enhance vocabulary.:

Works Cited

Avalos, M.A., Plasencia, A., Chavez, C., & Rascon, J. (Dec., 2007- Jan., 2008). Modified Guided Reading: Gateway to English as a Second Language and Literacy Learning. The Reading Teacher, Vol. 61 (No.4). Retrieved from

Brock, C. (May, 2001). Serving English Language Learners: Placing Learners Learning on Center Stage. Language, Arts, Vol. 78 (No. 5). Retrieved from

Carrier, K. A., Tatum, A. W., (Nov., 2006). Creating Sentence Walls to Help English-Language Learners Develop Content Literacy. The Reading Teacher, Vol. 60 (No. 3). Retrieved from

Hadaway, N.L., Mundy, J. (Mar., 1999). Children’s Informational Picture Books Visit a Secondary ESL Classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Vol. 42 (No. 6). Retrieved from

Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2013). Comprehension at the Core. Reading Teacher, Vol. 66 (No.6), pp. 432-439. doi:10.1002/TRTR.1145

Hickman, P., Pollard-Durodola, S., Vaughn, S. (May, 2004). Storybook Reading: Improving Vocabulary and Comprehension for English-Language Learners. The Reading Teacher, Vol. 57 (No.8). Retrieved from

Van Sluys, K., & Tropp Laman, T. (Nov., 2006). Learning About Language: Written Conversations and Elementary Language Learners. The Reading Teacher, Vol. 60. (No.3) Retrieved from

Jekoi Lassiter

I am a Senior at East Carolina University majoring in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. I hope to serve as a positive impact in my future student's lives by treating everyone equally and making sure that everyone comprehends in an effective and engaging manner.