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Feb 28, 2015
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Teaching English-Language Learners with Learning Difficulties

Here is some practical information and guidelines for special education teachers, school psychologists, administrators, and program specialists.

English-language learners with learning difficulties fall into four categories:

  • Students with learning disabilities
  • Students with language disabilities
  • Those who are at risk for developing significant learning disabilities
  • Those who are receiving preferential interventions

The term English-language learners (ELL) has replaced the terms still in current use, such as Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and English as a Second Language (ESL). The term English-language learners is now preferred because it draws attention to the instructional needs of students.

Below is a cohesive collection of teaching strategies to use when working with ELL students.

What Is Comprehensible Input?
A critical concept for second-language development for students with and without learning difficulties is comprehensible input – students being able to understand the essence of what is being said or presented to them.

What Is Meaningful Access to the General Curriculum?
The purpose of providing comprehensible input to English-language learners with learning difficulties is to ensure that instruction deals with grade-appropriate content, concepts, and skills.

Problems in Trying to Provide Meaningful Access Through Comprehensible Input
The most common problem in providing meaningful access to the curriculum has been the practice of viewing English-language learners with learning difficulties as simply low-performing native English speakers.

Approaches to Increasing Meaningful Access Through Comprehensible Input
Providing curriculum access does not absolve districts of their responsibility to teach students how to read and develop other core academic skills. Below-grade material can be used if doing so better assists students in learning a core academic objective.

Teaching Academic Language
Successful educators of English-language learners with learning difficulties understand that demonstrating language proficiency depends heavily on contextual factors.

Useful Initial Teaching Strategies
These initial steps will help immensely in preparing the right kind of instructional environment for English-language learners with learning difficulties.

What Teachers Can Do to Provide Meaningful Access to the General Curriculum
A list of several key instructional principles that can be used with English-language learners with learning difficulties.

Council for Exceptional Children

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.

Highlights

Galactic Hot Dogs Reading Marathon
Join the Galactic Hot Dogs Reading Marathon! Read each episode as it's re-released with newly revealed facts, behind-the-scenes illustrations, and the inside scoop. Make it official by pledging on the blog to read each chapter with Cosmoe. Your students will love following the exploits of these space travelers, and you'll love the educational elements that can easily be paired to the stories.

Handwashing Awareness
Kids are especially susceptible to contracting and spreading viruses during the winter months. Prevention starts with proper handwashing. Show students how to keep germs away.

March Calendar of Events
March is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: National School Breakfast Week (3/2-6), World Orphan Week (3/4-11), Boston Massacre (3/5/1770), Daylight Saving Time Begins (3/8), International Women's Day (3/8), Teen Tech Week (3/8-14), Pi Day (3/14), St. Patrick's Day (3/17), Spring Begins (3/20), Make Your Own Holiday Day (3/26), and World Theatre Day (3/27). Plus, celebrate Deaf History Month (3/15-4/15), Music In Our Schools Month, Women's History Month, and Youth Art Month!

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

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Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month. Talk to your students about the accomplishments women have made—as well as the adversity they have faced.

Teaching with Comics
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guide to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series, as found on Funbrain.com, will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stores.


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