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Category: ELLs

5 Fun Phonics Activities for ELLs

5 Fun Phonics Activities for ELLs

Phonics is an important component of teaching students how to read. For ELLs it is important to include pictures when possible to help with vocabulary development. Stay away from nonsense words. Here are some phonics activities to use with your English Language Learners and emergent readers. Build the word For these phonics activities use magnetic letters, letter tiles, or simply pieces of paper with letters written on them. Have students practice building words that have the phonics pattern that they…

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Making Sight Words Visual

Making Sight Words Visual

Sight words are words that students are expected to read automatically. Some of these words do not follow common phonetic patterns. Many of them are not easy to visualize. This can make it challenging to teach these important words to English Language Learners. Look for creative ways to make sight words visual to support your students. Teach Sight Words in Context The easiest way to help students learn the meaning of sight words is to incorporate them into the context…

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Engaging ELLs in Virtual Learning

Engaging ELLs in Virtual Learning

Virtual learning is both highly engaging (think TV shows) and highly unengaging (staring at a screen for hours on end). Here are some tips for engaging your students during distance learning. Build Relationships Building relationships with students is important any year. If you are teaching virtually it is even more important…and for many students much more challenging. Share your own interests. If you are teaching from your house show students your pet, a favorite mug, or other anything that is…

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Winter Holidays for ELLs

Winter Holidays for ELLs

Holidays can be a fun experience for those students that celebrate them. Some holidays are a great opportunity to teach students about different traditions and infuse fun into learning. For some English Language Learners, they might be unfamiliar with the winter holidays that their classmates have celebrated for years. It can be helpful to go over basic holiday traditions and facts before the holiday begins. For American holidays such as Martin Luther King Day, Groundhog Day, or Veterans day most…

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16 Thanksgiving Books for ELLs

16 Thanksgiving Books for ELLs

There are Thanksgiving books on a range of topics to share with students. One theme I like to focus on around Thanksgiving is gratitude and being thankful.  Students can read and listen to what others are thankful for and then write and talk about what they are thankful for. Families have many unique traditions around Thanksgiving. Immigrant families often add in their own cultural traditions to this holiday. Books are a great way for kids to learn about some of…

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Halloween Tips and Activities for ELLs

Halloween Tips and Activities for ELLs

Many children look forward to Halloween each year. For English Language Learners (ELLs) that are newcomers, they may not have experienced Halloween in the past or celebrated it in a much different way. These students will benefit from a basic explanation of what the holiday is and the different ways that it is celebrated in their community.  This will help alleviate the confusion that may come up otherwise. Here are some Halloween tips to use as you introduce the holiday…

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Digital ESL Assessments

Digital ESL Assessments

Like it or not more and more of student learning and assessments are done on the computer. In the short term, this is in large part due to virtual learning. More long term though this is still the trend. Many standardized assessments students take are given digitally. This includes the WIDA language assessment. It is important to give students the opportunity to practice navigating digital ESL assessments before they are expected to take a high stakes one. This will allow…

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Diverse Back to School Books for ELLs

Diverse Back to School Books for ELLs

The beginning of the school year is a great time to read books about starting at a new school, culture, respect, names, and identity. Books with a diverse range of characters allow students to see their own and other cultures represented. It is especially important for ELLs to read and listen to books where they see characters similar to themselves represented. Here are some great books to use a read aloud at the beginning of the school year. Many of…

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Phonics for ELLs

Phonics for ELLs

Teaching phonics is an important aspect of a balanced literacy program. This is especially true for ELLs. Phonics is the relationship between sounds and the letter or letters used to write it. Phonics helps students learn specific sounds in the English language. For newcomers that have a background in a language that does not use the Western alphabet, phonics is a way to help them learn the letters and sounds of the alphabet. For older students, it is important to…

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Teaching Syllables to ELLs

Teaching Syllables to ELLs

Syllables are one component of phonological awareness. A syllable is part of a word that has a vowel, or vowel sound. Here are some ideas for teaching syllables to English Language Learners. Introducing Syllables One way to teach students how to identify syllables is to have them close their mouth and say a word. They then count how many breaths of air they take to say the word. That is the number of syllables. You can read more about this and…

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