ELL instructors can adapt almost any lesson or activity to meet the needs of their students. Use this list of sample ELL-friendly strategies to spark creativity. Implement them alone, combine them, or integrate them into lessons you’ve already created.
Anchor Charts (K–2)
Anchor charts remind students of prior learning built over multiple lessons. They help level the playing field by providing all students, regardless of prior knowledge or background, with visual reminders of the vocabulary they are responsible for.
Realia are real-life objects that enable students to make connections to their own lives as they try to make sense of new concepts and ideas. Realia also evoke physical responses that help students recall ideas and themes from the text in later discussions.
Readers’ Theater (3–5)
Readers’ theater helps children gain reading fluency and engage fully with texts. The strategy involves attention to pronunciation, unfamiliar vocabulary and interpretation.
Making Connections (K–2)
Students make connections to read-aloud texts by relating the text to themselves (lived experiences), to other texts (read in any setting) and to the world (current and historical events).
During shared reading, learners observe experts reading with fluency and expression while following along or otherwise engaging with the text. This strategy improves targeted reading comprehension skills while promoting the joy of reading.
Think Aloud (3–5)
The think aloud strategy encourages conversations about reading for understanding, providing insight into how students are processing texts. This strategy fosters the metacognition skills necessary for students to become successful independent readers.
Vocabulary Frames (3–5)
Students use this tool to identify a word’s meaning, its parts and its opposite. Vocabulary frames combine several word-learning strategies in a single diagram, helping students retain the new word.
Word Wall (3–5)
Word walls reinforce sight-word acquisition and build content literacy across grades and disciplines. They also help students see relationships between words and ideas.
A personal picture dictionary is an individual vocabulary and spelling resource students make themselves. This strategy allows students to take ownership of their learning.