Skip to main content
ELL student reading a text in class

Comprehension: Helping English Language Learners Grasp the Full Picture

ELL experts Cynthia Lundgren and Kristina Robertson discussing effective reading comprehension strategies for teaching English language learner students.

On this page:

Program description

This 45-minute webcast offers practical information on how to teach English language learners effective comprehension skills.

This webcast is made possible by AFT Teachers, a division of the American Federation of Teachers, as part of a Colorín Colorado partnership between AFT and Reading Rockets.


Dr. Cynthia Lundgren is an assistant professor at The Center for Second Language Teaching and Learning at Hamline University’s Graduate School of Education in St. Paul, MN. In this interview, Dr. Lundgren offers a blueprint for administrators who are serving a new or changing population of ELLs. Topics covered include creating a welcoming culture, assessment, language instruction, staffing, and professional development. 

Kristina Robertson is an ELL specialist with extensive experience as a classroom teacher and professional development leader. Kristina is the current Titles Coordinator for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District in Minnesota. 


Delia Pompa is the Vice President of the Center for Community Educational Excellence, at the National Council of La Raza.

Watch the webcast

Related resources

Discussion questions

  1. How is vocabulary related to comprehension?
  2. Describe some activities you’ve used with ELL students to tap into their prior knowledge of a topic.
  3. Compare and contrast the teaching of comprehension strategies to ELL students and students for whom English is their first language.
  4. Consider a classroom reading book you recently used. What vocabulary or concepts were presented in the book that could cause confusion for ELL learners? What could you do to scaffold the read aloud experience that would benefit ELL learners?
  5. Create a semantic map that could be used in your class. How could you use this map to plan further learning experiences?