A New ELL? WHAT DO I DO FIRST?
• Provide a welcoming, safe environment.
• Assign a willing buddy
• Check textbook kits. Many publishers have resources designed so that ELLs may
participate in lessons even if they have limited English.
• ELLs may not speak for weeks. This “silent phase”is normal. Be patient and don’t force.
• Learn ELL’s language level.
• Learn about the student’s language and culture. Introduce the ELL’s home country to the class.
• Grades: Modify content, assignments, and assessment to allow ELLs to succeed. ELLs cannot fail solely due to
lack of English proficiency.
• Gather resources: CDs & flash cards.
• Seat the student near the front.
You are key!
No two ELLs (English Language Learners) are the same!
You are key to their success when you differentiate!
Most of what you already do benefits ELLs.
What if the ELL doesn’t speak any English?
• Use gestures, flashcards, visuals, and repetitive commands.
• Put ELLs in cooperative groups.
• Provide opportunities for ELLs to learn American culture (games, word play, flashcards, nursery-rhymes, songs, holidays.)
• Give ELLs a picture dictionary (check library or ESL teacher.)
• Simplify your language. Speak slowly. Repeat!
• Use software like Rosetta Stone.
• Encourage parents to read aloud in home language. This print awareness will facilitate English literacy.
• Very important: Include ELL in academic instruction. Teach academic vocabulary and syntax.
What if an ELL speaks English, but lacks literacy skills?
• Conversational English usually precedes reading & writing.
• Phonics: ELLs need to know the meanings of words used to teach phonics.
• ELLs may come to you not knowing that print conveys meaning. Or ELLs may be from a language that is read right to left,
or top to bottom (Arabic, Chinese) or uses characters. Give ELLs a lot of exposure to print concepts.
• Teach and build sight word vocabulary.
• Provide or record books on tape. Read aloud!
• Become familiar with language conflicts (for ex., vowels in Spanish are long so ELLs may have trouble recognizing short vowel
sounds.) Arabic has only 3 vowels and is written backwards.
• Be particularly sensitive to English idioms and multiple meaning words.
• As ELLs gain letter/sound knowledge, provide many opportunities to practice reading and build automaticity.
• Modify instruction and/or assessment.