Audio books are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories. Listening to audio books also gives kids the valuable and enjoyable experience of using their own imaginations to visualize the people and places they’re hearing about. Here, you’ll find guidance on what to look for in choosing audio books as well as listening tips.
Turn travel time during a family trip into a great bonding and learning adventure with activities that build language for literacy and boost kids’ brain development. Here, you’ll find simple, fun ideas for singing, reading, and sharing family stories together.
Reading Rockets has developed a set of reading adventure packs to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
Sharing wordless books is a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, vocabulary, comprehension and an increased awareness of how stories are structured.
Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a "book walk" with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading.
Finding the right book for your child means finding something your child wants to read AND making sure it's at the right level for your child.
In plain language, find out what the Common Core Standards are, how student progress will be measured, their impact on English language learners, and how to stay informed.
Read and discuss poetry with nature imagery with students. Take students on a poetry walk around the school, neighborhood, or community to observe and collect sensory images from direct experience with nature: the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of things outdoors. Students can take a poetry journal with them to write down words as they observe, listen, smell, and touch things outside the classroom.
Sharing poetry with kids is a great way to highlight language. Poems offer humor, interesting words, tongue twisters, alliteration, and opportunities for choral reading (reading together). Find out how to plan a lively and fun family poetry jam!
The powerful combination of systematic vocabulary instruction and expanded learning time has the potential to address the large and long-standing literacy gaps in U.S. public schools, particularly with low-income students and English language learners.
This article explains (a) how to teach students to identify the compare-contrast text structure, and to use this structure to support their comprehension, (b) how to use compare-contrast texts to activate and extend students' background knowledge, and (c) how to use compare-contrast texts to help students expand and enrich their vocabulary. Although these strategies can benefit all young learners, the compare-contrast text structure is particularly helpful to ELL students.
Back-to-School Night is a great opportunity for families to learn more about their child's school and teacher. Here are some signs to look for that indicate your child is in a place where good reading instruction can take place.
On a daily basis, ELLs are adjusting to new ways of saying and doing things. As their teacher, you are an important bridge to this unknown culture and school system. There are a number of things you can do to help make ELLs' transitions as smooth as possible.
A simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a real learning experience for your child. Below are some easy ways to build literacy and math skills while getting your shopping done at the same time!
This article offers some ideas on how to introduce poetry to ELLs and integrate it with reading instruction, as well as some ideas for reading poetry aloud in a way that will encourage oral language development.
Libraries are great resources for families with young children; you can find books, entertainment, educational and cultural enrichment, literacy tips, and other valuable information. Here are nine reasons to visit your public library!
ELLs can benefit from Reader's Theater activities in a number of ways, including fluency practice, comprehension, engaging in a story, and focusing on vocal and physical expression. Kristina Robertson offers a number of approaches to Reader's Theater with ELLs in this article.
This Bright Ideas article recommends five specific and measurable actions teachers can implement to assist ELL learning in the upcoming year. All of the strategies have been featured on the Colorín Colorado website, and the Hotlinks section has links to helpful articles and websites for further support.
A recent research study shows that using multimedia video in conjunction with traditional read aloud methods may improve the vocabulary growth of English language learners. An example of how to implement multimedia during classroom read-alouds is described.
One of the most important skills students learn as they transition into middle and high school is how to get information from a non-fiction text. This skill can be especially challenging for ELLs, who may not have had much experience working independently with expository texts. This Bright Ideas article offers ways that teachers can help ELLs work effectively with non-fiction texts and includes strategies for introducing components, structure, and purpose of expository texts.
How can you hold an effective parent-teacher conference with the parents of English language learners if they can't communicate comfortably in English? This article provides a number of tips to help you bridge the language gap, take cultural expectations about education into account, and provide your students' parents with the information they need about their children's progress in school.
As you teach content areas to ELLs of diverse backgrounds, you may find that they struggle to grasp the content, and that they approach the content from very different perspectives. Drawing on your students' background knowledge and experiences can be an effective way to bridge those gaps and make content more accessible. This article offers a number of suggestions to classroom teachers as they find ways to tap into the background knowledge that students bring with them.
Concerns about how to build academic vocabulary and weave its instruction into curricula are common among classroom teachers. This article reviews the research and offers some practical suggestions for teachers.
A child's success as a reader begins much earlier than the first day of school. Reading, and a love for reading, begins at home. Our one-page parent tips offer easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers. Although we've divided these tips by age, many of them can be used with children at various ages and stages — we encourage you to choose the ones that work best for your child.
Learning to speak two languages is like learning any other skill. To do it well, children need lots of practice, which parents can help provide. This American Speech-Language-Hearing Association brief gives information and tips for parents.
Anyone at any age can learn a second language after a first language is already established, but it takes a lot of practice. Second language acquisition often happens when a child who speaks a language other than English goes to school for the first time. This American Speech-Language-Hearing Association brief looks at the best way to teach a second language and how speech professionals can help.
Writing is a complex operation requiring knowledge of text structure, syntax, vocabulary, and topic, and sensitivity to audience needs; so it is not surprising that many teens find writing challenging. This article identifies the qualities of strong writing instruction, and offers advice to teachers for incorporating writing instruction into their practice, using tools like notebooks and journals, and sharing strategies that reinforce the importance of pre-writing and revision.
Parent-teacher conferences are a great opportunity for families to sit down one-on-one with your child's teacher and talk about school progress. Here are some tips to make the most of this time.
Concrete suggestions for teachers who want to communicate well with all of their students, especially English language learners and students with learning disabilities.
Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. For Spanish-speaking ELLs, cognates are an obvious bridge to the English language.
Libraries today have changed in a number of ways to meet the demands of our modern society, but their underlying purpose for children is still to help them discover the joy of reading. As summer peaks, many local libraries advertise special summer reading programs and activities to keep children enthusiastic about reading.
Most words in a child's vocabulary come from everyday encounters with language. Children pick up language from books, media, and conversations with the people in their lives. Here are some ways you can increase your child's vocabulary and background knowledge, and strengthen the foundation for their reading success.
Learning to read is a challenge for many kids, but most can become good readers if they get the right help. Parents have an important job in recognizing when a child is struggling and knowing how to find help. Here are some signs to look for and things to do if you suspect your child is having trouble reading.
Did you know that kids whose parents are involved in their education have better grades, a better attitude toward school, and more appropriate school behavior than those with less involved parents? Consider trying a few of these tips — and make a big difference!
This article discusses the challenges in providing psychoeducational services to the rapidly increasing minority populations in the U.S. and offers a brief elaboration of the role and function of school counselors and school psychologists and how they can meet the mental health and educational needs of this large and growing population.
Does summer reading really work? Can simply giving books to children actually help close the achievement gap? This article shares what we know and what we are still learning about summer reading.