ELL VCC News

The SIOP Edition

SIOP -- What is it? Why should we use it?

YSD currently has 33% English Language Learners. This number does not include those students who HAVE tested out of program, but who still struggle with academic language; "language used to read, write, listen, and speak in content classes…" (Echevarria et al., 2013, p. 3). ELLs come from diverse backgrounds of language proficiency in their native language. Some students are second or third generation in the US, but continue to have limited proficiency. Some come from another country with little to no academic language in their native language. And some come from another country with rigorous and high levels of academic language in their native language. All of these factors affect second language acquisition. Essentially, knowing students' backgrounds and where they are functioning in their use of content specific academic language is imperative to effective teaching and student growth.


In order for "English learners to have access to core content, they need academic language and literacy skills" (Echevarria et al., 2013, p. 9). One tool to help ELLs have access to core content is SIOP: Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol. This research-based sheltered instruction model consists of eight components for differentiating instruction in classrooms populated with both native English speakers and multi-level ELLs. SIOP identifies best practices in ELL instruction based on classroom research and the experiences of teachers, compiled with professional literature. In addition, the most recent research has shown data that supports that ALL students learn when SIOP instructional strategies are employed.

So what is it? SIOP has eight main components:

  • Lesson Preparation: Preparing to teach content and language objectives through meaningful activities
  • Building Background: Making connections to students experiences and knowledge, and developing academic vocabulary
  • Comprehensible Input: Using teaching techniques, language, and modeling to enhance comprehension
  • Strategies: Teaching learning strategies, scaffolding instruction, and promoting higher-order thinking skills
  • Interaction: Using appropriate grouping and interactions to support student language and content development
  • Practice & Application: Practicing activities that extend language and content learning
  • Lesson Delivery: Presenting lessons that meet the planned objectives through student engagement
  • Review & Assessment: Reviewing and assessing key language and content and then providing specific feedback to student to foster growth

In addition to these eight components, teachers in a SIOP classroom strive to create an environment where being challenged and taking risks is celebrated and “failure” is a necessary step on the road to success. Finally, teachers utilize multiple pathways for students to demonstrate their understanding of the content so that student strengths and understanding is tapped and the students’ knowledge and skills are being accurately assessed along with their language acquisition.
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Component 4: Strategies