Meeting the Needs of Linguistically Diverse Students in The Mainstream Classroom

Related Content
Symons, Carrie
Michigan Reading Journal
Resource Type
Acquisition Number
Published Date
04-21-2021 3:53 PM
Published Year
Number of Pages
Subscription Only
This study helps mainstream and content area classroom teachers understand the role written and spoken language play in learning. Instructional tools and practices to support emergent bilinguals' reading comprehension and language learning are shared. A focus on language can inform the instruction that teachers are already providing and support students in making connections across content areas. The author explains that Emergent bilinguals' prior knowledge is encoded in their home languages and cultures, which may make it difficult to leverage relevant background knowledge in service of making connections in and across texts written in English. Therefore, providing the support of visual aids, multiple examples for unknown words, and cognates, if applicable, can cue students to draw upon their prior knowledge encoded in their home languages. Opportunities for students to use oral language, to hear language, to read language, and to write for authentic academic purpose are shared. Strategies for small groups, pairs, or whole-class participation are also shared. Examples include (1) reading the text and making note of words and concepts that may be new for students who speak a language other than English at home, (2) interactive read-alouds, and (3) text-based discussions. Teachers are encouraged to analyze instructional texts to identify language that may hinder students' ability to keep track of the information. They should emphasize the content learning goals and the language goals developed from their pre-analysis of the text. While reading, teachers are encouraged to stop while reading aloud to reinforce key ideas and core concepts, elicit student thinking about the text, and encourage student-to-student dialogue.
Teaching Methods and Strategies
English Learners
English Learners
English Language Arts