Literacy Essentials for English Language Learners

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“Written in a clear and reader-friendly manner, this will be a book that is read and re-read by practitioners and quoted often in the literature. . . . Most importantly, it will help ELL children have access to quality literacy instruction. The authors are to be commended for this articulate, intelligent, compassionate, and practical book.” From the Foreword by Kathy Escamilla

“The authors’ provide a current, scholarly grounding for the importance of context and background knowledge in literacy development. The many examples of the multi-dimensional role that a student’s cultural and social knowledge plays not only in literacy development but also in academic reading and writing make this an invaluable text for teachers and teacher educators.” —Bertha Pérez, The University of Texas San Antonio

This new book in the Practitioner’s Bookshelf Series provides research-based, best practices for teaching English language learners in kindergarten through 5th grade. The authors demonstrate how to build on ELL students’ existing linguistic and cultural background knowledge, how to explain the many idiosyncrasies of the English language and U.S. school culture, and how to involve students in their own learning, encouraging them to express themselves in many ways including in their native language. This hands-on text features sample lessons and children’s literature that can be used to help ELL students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school.

This accessible, evidence-based guide:

  • Offers proven methods for helping children learn core content while transitioning to academic proficiency in English.
  • Challenges current conventional wisdom by demonstrating that ELL students need different instruction from struggling native English speakers.
  • Proposes a set of alternative approaches designed to make literacy programs for ELL children more meaningful and effective.
  • Provides sample lesson plans and structures to help teachers plan culturally sensitive instruction.

Maria Uribe is the principal at Goldrick Elementary, an urban school in Denver, Colorado. Sally Nathenson-Mejía is an associate professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. Together they have presented workshops and in-services on literacy to teachers around the greater Denver metro area.