Resources for Teaching Academic Language and ELLs

Defining the Problem

  • Read the Joan Ganz Cooney Center report that discusses how a lack of academic language is the leading cause of the 4th grade reading slump. In fact, “book words” known at kindergarten are the #1 predictor of academic success.
  • View the latest NAEP reading scale scores. This standardized national test has four levels: below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced. Only 8% of ELLs achieved the proficient level for academic reading in 4th grade and only 4% in 8th grade in 2015, the most recent data available as of this writing. In fact, roughly 7 in 10 ELLs are below basic reading in 4th and 8th grades. The picture for GenEd students is also challenging: 64% of all 4th graders and 66% of all 8th graders scored below proficient.
  • For those of you who teach ELLs or care about the issue, the NEA put together a guide to advocating for ELL students.
  • The Speak Agent team put together these infographics to help highlight the issue:

Teaching Academic Vocabulary

ELLs in Charter Schools