ESL LE1 Summary

The Difference Between ESL and ELD

Most students can read and write in their first language when they arrive in Canada but may have limited English skills. English as a Second Language (ESL) programs help students learn English so they can participate fully in the curriculum and school life with their English-speaking classmates.

Students who receive English Literacy Development (ELD) support arrive in Ontario schools with limited prior access to formal education. ELD programs help students develop literacy skills in English. They also gain academic knowledge in various subject areas such as mathematics and social studies.

Some Benefits

  • Students gain the ability to use English at school to achieve academic success

  • Students develop the ability to use spoken and written English to communicate effectively in a variety of situations

  • Students are better able to participate in all aspects of life in Canada and in their own community

  • Students gain an increased appreciation for their own and other cultures, backgrounds and languages

A Look at Some Resources


The STEP framework is used for assessing and monitoring language acquisition and literacy development. This resource can be used to initially assess students and track their progress over time. As such, it is a valuable tool to inform parents about their child’s current level of understanding and it also helps both the teacher and parent (s) set goals for the child’s learning.

Tips and Tools

These Tips and Tools For Parents are available on the Ministry of Education's website. There are a variety of links to help parents help their child(ren) at home including; tips on reading (K-3, 4-6), math (k-3, 4-6), writing (k-3, 4-6), helping boys with reading, helping children with homework, getting a child ready for school, communicating with a teacher, on using arts and crafts, summer learning, getting extra help, building vocabulary, choosing books and sharing family stories.

Video-Literacy and Numeracy on the Fridge

The podcasts help establish norms around what students are learning at school and what parents can do at home to help support this. In this example, a young girl is practising thinking aloud while she solves a puzzle. It shows the parent encouraging her daughter to take risks and asking her a question to justify her thinking-skills which we focus on in schools.


A series of videos that would help parents establish norms in their home, as well as give them practical ideas around how to help their child(ren) learn. All are intended to help students be successful at school.

Parenting and Family Literacy Centres

These centres are located in schools and help parents with the transition to kindergarten. The centre staff work closely with kindergarten teachers to ensure that there is a positive and welcoming learning environment that will help prepare students for entrance to school. There are 155 centres located in the province.

Centre Locations link:

Ways to Reach Out to Parents of ELLS

1. Use their preferred language by engaging a fully bilingual interpreter (employee, parent liaison, family member, friend or community member). It is best to rely on an adult to act as the translator rather than the student, as this practice can disempower the parent.

2. Translate the written communications you send home to help keep parents in the loop. Keep it as straightforward as possible.

3. Educate parents about the Canadian school system so that they are well aware about the system as well as how the culture of the school works. Expectations for curriculum, materials, teacher/school expectations, parent rights and how language programs are delivered are items that should be highlighted.

4. Host an event at the school for all newcomers ensuring that you have some interpreters on hand. Use it as an opportunity to get to know them, to communicate expectations and to answer any questions or address concerns they might have.

5. Encourage the parents to volunteer. Parents may be able to help with a variety of activities such as cooking, telling stories, teaching a dance, a craft or making a presentation. Use their expertise to help promote a variety of cultures that are represented in your school.

Although the video below focuses on Latino parents, the message around engaging them in the school holds true for all parents.

Partnering with Latino parents
Assisting New Canadians
The Importance of ELL Strategies - Immersion (Moises in Math Class)