OELA Office of English Language Acquisition (2016, November). English Learner Tool Kit. U.S. Department of Education.

English Learner Tool Kit updated with ESSA references. OELA’s EL Tool Kit was published in 2015 as a companion to support the 2015 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) produced by the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and the Department of Justice, outlining legal obligations for ELs. Some chapters of the tool kit have been updated related to the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The English Learner Tool Kit helps state and local education agencies help English Learners (ELs) by fulfilling these obligations. The Toolkit has 10 chapters (one for each section of the DCL), and contains an overview, sample tools, and resources.

Fixsen, D. L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, K. A., and Wallace, F. (2007, April). Implementation: The Missing Link Between Research and Practice. APSAC Advisor Excerpt, Volume 19, Numbers 1 & 2, Winter/Spring. National Implementation Research Network, University of South Florida.

For two decades, providers have attempted to integrate research-based treatment and prevention strategies into human service practices, but human services remain largely ineffective. This article proposes that implementation — the art and science of incorporating innovations — is the missing link. The authors examine the challenges of bridging the gap between evidence-based research and its application within the complex realm of human services, where “the practitioner is the intervention.” They review two theoretical frameworks for making science-to-service more effective. They recommend developing feedback systems and common outcomes, designing training academies for implementation, and aligning government systems with service providers’ needs.

Advani, A. G., Brown, Z. A., and Anselmi Simpson, B. (2008). What Does the Research Say: Research-based Characteristics of Effective Districts, Schools, and Classrooms that Promote English Learner Achievement. Oakland, CA: WestEd.

This report synthesizes the major themes from research on trends in the field of educating English learners. In a series of charts, the document provides characteristics, definitions, and examples from effective districts, schools, and classrooms that promote English learner achievement. Each characteristic is described succinctly and multiple specific examples are listed. The authors’ intention is to present what the research says in order to provide district and school personnel with an organized set of features found in effective learning environments for English learners. 

Olsen, Laurie. 2012. Secondary School Courses Designed to Address the Language Needs and Academic Gaps of Long Term English Learners. Californians Together, Long Beach, CA. 

The purpose of this report is to articulate the collective emerging knowledge base about how to design and implement effective courses that meet the needs of long-term English learners.

Gold, N. (2006, October). Successful Bilingual Schools: Six Effective Programs in California. San Diego: San Diego County Office of Education.

This report analyzes case studies conducted over a two-year period to investigate successful bilingual education programs in six California schools. The inquiry is focused on primary implementation strategies and notable instructional qualities, including leadership, accountability, teacher qualifications, and professional development. The report shows that a wide range of instructional and organizational factors can lead to academic excellence for English learners, and it lists the features of effective schools and successful programs.

Dutro, S. and Kinsella, K. (2009). English Language Development: Issues and Implementation at Grades 6–12. Chapter 3 in Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

Dutro and Kinsella offer an approach to rethink English language development (ELD) instruction for adolescent language learners, based on current research and promising practices. They present a model for rigorous standards-aligned ELD instruction, give descriptive examples, and provide practical tools for implementing effective programs at the secondary level. The chapter focuses on explicit teaching of vocabulary and syntactical structures to strengthen students’ oral and written academic English and boost them beyond the intermediate level.

Goldenberg, C. (2008, Summer). Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does — and Does Not — Say. American Educator, 8–44. Washington, DC.

Goldenberg summarizes the significant findings of research on educating English language learners (ELLs). He condenses the findings into three key points: 1) teaching children to read in their first language promotes reading achievement in English; 2) what works for learners in general works for ELLs; and 3) teachers must adapt instruction to ELLs’ instructional needs. The author identifies gaps in research by highlighting three groups of questions that educators often ask regarding bilingual reading instruction, oral language development, and the best way to teach ELD. The article includes details on instructional modifications that can strengthen ELLs’ English proficiency and expand access to academic content.

Wei, R. C., Darling-Hammond, L., Andree, A., Richardson, N., and Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the United States and Abroad. National Staff Development Council, Dallas, TX, and the School Redesign Network, Stanford University.

This report examines the nature of professional development opportunities available to teachers across the U.S. and in a variety of contexts. The study uses data from multiple surveys to review the relationship between teacher professional development and student learning. It discusses the availability of the formal and informal professional learning opportunities that research finds most effective in the U.S. and in high-achieving nations around the world. The authors conclude that despite high levels of teacher participation in professional development, the U.S. lags behind other countries in providing “the kinds of powerful professional learning opportunities that are more likely to build their capacity and have significant impacts on student learning.”

Wong Fillmore, L. and Snow, C. E. (2000, August). What teachers need to know about language (Contract No. ED-99-CO-0008). U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Center for Applied Linguistics.

Why do teachers need to know more about language? This report provides a rationale, outlines five roles that teachers play, and argues that most educators haven’t had well-designed professional education to address the challenges they face. The authors specify the kinds of knowledge teachers should have about oral and written language. They offer a course list representing “a crucial core of knowledge” that teacher preparation programs should offer to future educators in order to address fundamental issues in the education of English language learners.

Gold, N. (2006, October). Successful Bilingual Schools: Six Effective Programs in California. San Diego: San Diego County Office of Education.

This report analyzes case studies conducted over a two-year period to investigate successful bilingual education programs in six California schools. The inquiry is focused on primary implementation strategies and notable instructional qualities, including leadership, accountability, teacher qualifications, and professional development. The report shows that a wide range of instructional and organizational factors can lead to academic excellence for English learners, and it lists the features of effective schools and successful programs.

Fixsen, D. L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, K. A., and Wallace, F. (2007, April). Implementation: The Missing Link Between Research and Practice. APSAC Advisor Excerpt, Volume 19, Numbers 1 & 2, Winter/Spring. National Implementation Research Network, University of South Florida.

For two decades, providers have attempted to integrate research-based treatment and prevention strategies into human service practices, but human services remain largely ineffective. This article proposes that implementation — the art and science of incorporating innovations — is the missing link. The authors examine the challenges of bridging the gap between evidence-based research and its application within the complex realm of human services, where “the practitioner is the intervention.” They review two theoretical frameworks for making science-to-service more effective. They recommend developing feedback systems and common outcomes, designing training academies for implementation, and aligning government systems with service providers’ needs.

Olsen, Laurie. (2012). Secondary School Courses Designed to Address the Language Needs and Academic Gaps of Long Term English Learners, Californians Together, Long Beach, California. 

The purpose of this report is to articulate the collective emerging knowledge base about how to design and implement effective courses that meet the needs of long-term English learners.

Merino, B. and Scarcella, R. (2005, Summer). Invited Essay: Teaching Science to English Learners. University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute. Newsletter, Volume 14, Number 4, 1–7.

Merino and Scarcella argue that in order to teach science successfully, educators need to teach both the rigorous academic content and the required literacy skills. The authors describe the low achievement levels of English learners in the sciences. They discuss recent developments in science curricula and the challenges posed by these changes, and then consider the literacy requirements for students in science classes. Lastly, the authors examine current practices for teaching science – including Sheltered Instruction, the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach, the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Model, and the Focused Approach – and underscore the most effective approaches. 

Dutro, S. and Moran, C. (2003). Rethinking English Language Instruction: An Architectural Approach. Chapter 10 in Garcia, G. (Ed.) English Learners: Reaching the Highest Level of English Literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

This chapter lays out an early foundation for rethinking English language instruction that Dutro and E.L. Achieve associates have evolved over the past decade. The authors introduce a metaphor of a blueprint to describe a well-designed approach to English language development (ELD) instruction throughout the day that includes Systematic ELD, front-loading language for content instruction (now Constructing Meaning: Explicit language for content learning), and maximizing the “teachable moment” (now fully developed into a vision of instruction). The authors describe the instructional theories and design components that are needed for rigorous second language teaching. They outline how to conceptualize an ELD program, how to design instruction, and how to teach English for academic purposes. 

Coleman, R. and Goldenberg, C. (2012, February). The Common Core Challenge for English Language Learners. Principal Leadership, 46–51.

Coleman and Goldenberg explain that many students who are expected to meet the Common Core State Standards are English language learners (ELLs), yet the standards don’t sufficiently acknowledge the difficulties these students face. ELLs are challenged by the dual task of studying academic content and learning oral and written language skills. Drawing on educational research, the authors suggest guidelines for content learning and English language proficiency, such as sheltered and direct instruction, incorporation of academic language, and structured student talk. They conclude that schools and districts play a key role in ELLs’ achievement, and that school-wide goals and strong leadership are paramount. 

Bunch, G. C., Kibler, A., and Pimentel, S. (2012). Realizing Opportunities for English Learners in the Common Core English Language Arts and Disciplinary Literacy Standards. Understanding Language: Language, Literacy, and Learning in the Content Areas. Stanford University School of Education.

This paper investigates what needs to be done by educators of ELLs to realize opportunities presented by the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and the literacy standards in various subjects. The authors focus on four areas that the standards highlight as required for literacy and for career and college readiness: engaging with complex texts to expand knowledge across the curriculum; using evidence for analysis in writing and research; speaking and listening in order to work cooperatively and present ideas; and developing linguistic resources. 

Saunders, W. and Goldenberg, C. (2010). Research to Guide English Language Development Instruction. Chapter 1 in Improving Education for English Language Learners: Research-Based Approaches. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

Saunders and Goldenberg synthesize existing research with the aim of identifying guidelines for effective ELD instruction. The authors begin with an explanation of what ELD instruction is and is not. Using data from six syntheses and meta-analyses, they present 14 guidelines organized by the strength of the evidence: 1) guidelines based on relatively strong supporting evidence from English learner research, 2) guidelines based on hypotheses emerging from recent English learner research, and 3) guidelines applicable to ELD, but grounded in non-English learner research.

Coleman, R. and Goldenberg, C. (2012, February). The Common Core Challenge for English Language Learners. Principal Leadership, 46–51.

Coleman and Goldenberg explain that many students who are expected to meet the Common Core State Standards are English language learners (ELLs), yet the standards don’t sufficiently acknowledge the difficulties these students face. ELLs are challenged by the dual task of studying academic content and learning oral and written language skills. Drawing on educational research, the authors suggest guidelines for content learning and English language proficiency, such as sheltered and direct instruction, incorporation of academic language, and structured student talk. They conclude that schools and districts play a key role in ELLs’ achievement, and that school-wide goals and strong leadership are paramount. 

Bunch, G. C., Kibler, A., and Pimentel, S. (2012). Realizing Opportunities for English Learners in the Common Core English Language Arts and Disciplinary Literacy Standards. Understanding Language: Language, Literacy, and Learning in the Content Areas. Stanford University School of Education.

This paper investigates what needs to be done by educators of ELLs to realize opportunities presented by the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and the literacy standards in various subjects. The authors focus on four areas that the standards highlight as required for literacy and for career and college readiness: engaging with complex texts to expand knowledge across the curriculum; using evidence for analysis in writing and research; speaking and listening in order to work cooperatively and present ideas; and developing linguistic resources. 

Goldenberg, C. (2008, Summer). Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does – and Does Not – Say. American Educator, 8–44. Washington, DC.

Goldenberg summarizes the significant findings of research on educating English language learners (ELLs). He condenses the findings into three key points: 1) teaching children to read in their first language promotes reading achievement in English; 2) what works for learners in general works for ELLs; and 3) teachers must adapt instruction to ELLs’ instructional needs. The author identifies gaps in research by highlighting three groups of questions that educators often ask regarding bilingual reading instruction, oral language development, and the best way to teach ELD. The article includes details on instructional modifications that can strengthen ELLs’ English proficiency and expand access to academic content.

Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2008, November). Releasing Responsibility. Educational Leadership, 32–37. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Fisher and Frey assert that in order to set students on a path of true independent education, teachers must gradually release responsibility for learning to students. To make the transfer successful, instructors need to offer support at each stage of the process. The article shares instructional routines and strategies to help students take charge of their education, including setting learning objectives, teacher modeling, and collaborative work.

Merino, B. and Scarcella, R. (2005, Summer). Invited Essay: Teaching Science to English Learners. University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute. Newsletter, Volume 14, Number 4, 1–7

Merino and Scarcella argue that in order to teach science successfully, educators need to teach both the rigorous academic content and the required literacy skills. The authors describe the low achievement levels of English learners in the sciences. They discuss recent developments in science curricula and the challenges posed by these changes, and then consider the literacy requirements for students in science classes. Lastly, the authors examine current practices for teaching science – including Sheltered Instruction, the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach, the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Model, and the Focused Approach – and underscore the most effective approaches. 

Dutro, S., Levy, E., and Moore, D. (2011). Equipping Adolescent English Learners for Academic Achievement. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Volume 19, Number 4. December 2011/January 2012 International Reading Association.

Dutro and Levy discuss a research-based approach for meeting the academic language needs of adolescent English learners. They recommend making visible the otherwise invisible language of academic content. They address the role oral language plays in developing academic skills and the importance of opportunities to orally process new learning and develop new ways to express understanding. 

Dutro, S. and Helman, L. (2009, April). Explicit Language Instruction: A Key to Constructing Meaning. Chapter 3 in Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy Development with English Learners: Research-Based Instruction in Grades K-6. New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.

This chapter examines the complexity of language development for English learners (ELs) and outlines what is needed for elementary school ELs to achieve at high levels in literacy tasks. The authors provide language development theory to help teachers gain insight into their students’ instructional needs, suggestions for structuring the classroom, and powerful instructional routines for teaching and practicing essential language skills. They define and explore an approach to explicit language instruction that encompasses identifying the cognitive task and teaching the language tools (vocabulary and essential grammatical forms) needed to construct and express meaning.  

Dutro, S. and Moran, C. (2003). Rethinking English Language Instruction: An Architectural Approach. Chapter 10 in Garcia, G. (Ed.) English Learners: Reaching the Highest Level of English Literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

This chapter lays out an early foundation for rethinking English language instruction that Dutro and E.L. Achieve associates have evolved over the past decade. The authors introduce a metaphor of a blueprint to describe a well-designed approach to English language development (ELD) instruction throughout the day that includes: Systematic ELD, front-loading language for content instruction (now Constructing Meaning: Explicit language for content learning), and maximizing the “teachable moment” (now fully developed into a vision of instruction). The authors describe the instructional theories and design components that are needed for rigorous second language teaching. They outline how to conceptualize an ELD program, how to design instruction, and how to teach English for academic purposes.  

William Saunders, Claude Goldenberg, and David Marcelletti (2013, Summer)English Language Development: Guidelines for Instruction

Rhonda Coleman and Claude Goldenberg (2010, Winter). What Does Research Say about Effective Practices for English Learners?

Saunders, W. and Goldenberg, C. (2010). Research to Guide English Language Development Instruction. Chapter 1 in Improving Education for English Language Learners: Research-Based Approaches. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

Saunders and Goldenberg synthesize existing research with the aim of identifying guidelines for effective ELD instruction. The authors begin with an explanation of what ELD instruction is and is not. Using data from six syntheses and meta-analyses, they present 14 guidelines organized by the strength of the evidence: 1) guidelines based on relatively strong supporting evidence from English learner research, 2) guidelines based on hypotheses emerging from recent English learner research, and 3) guidelines applicable to ELD, but grounded in non-English learner research. 

Goldenberg, C. (2008, Summer). Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does — and Does Not — Say. American Educator, 8–44. Washington, DC.

Goldenberg summarizes the significant findings of research on educating English language learners (ELLs). He condenses the findings into three key points: 1) teaching children to read in their first language promotes reading achievement in English; 2) what works for learners in general works for ELLs; and 3) teachers must adapt instruction to ELLs’ instructional needs. The author identifies gaps in research by highlighting three groups of questions that educators often ask regarding bilingual reading instruction, oral language development, and the best way to teach ELD. The article includes details on instructional modifications that can strengthen ELLs’ English proficiency and expand access to academic content.

Wong Fillmore, L. and Snow, C. E. (2000, August). What teachers need to know about language (Contract No. ED-99-CO-0008). U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Center for Applied Linguistics.

Why do teachers need to know more about language? This report provides a rationale, outlines five roles that teachers play, and argues that most educators haven’t had well-designed professional education to address the challenges they face. The authors specify the kinds of knowledge teachers should have about oral and written language. They offer a course list representing “a crucial core of knowledge” that teacher preparation programs should offer to future educators in order to address fundamental issues in the education of English language learners.

Zehr, M. A. (2009, October). Oral-Language Skills for English-Learners Focus of Researchers. Education Week.

Research shows that oral skills have been neglected in the education of English language learners (ELLs) and students who are academically at risk, even though oral-language learning is key to proficiency in both informal and academic language. Some schools are providing teachers with professional development to help students develop oral language. They are using tools and strategies to engage ELLs in the classroom.

Dutro, S. and Kinsella, K. (2009). English Language Development: Issues and Implementation at Grades 6–12. Chapter 3 in Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education. 

Dutro and Kinsella offer an approach to rethink English language development (ELD) instruction for adolescent language learners, based on current research and promising practices.They present a model for rigorous standards-aligned ELD instruction, give descriptive examples, and provide practical tools for implementing effective programs at the secondary level. The chapter focuses on explicit teaching of vocabulary and syntactical structures to strengthen students’ oral and written academic English and boost them beyond the intermediate level.

Dutro, S. and Moran, C. (2003). Rethinking English Language Instruction: An Architectural Approach. Chapter 10 in Garcia, G. (Ed.) English Learners: Reaching the Highest Level of English Literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

This chapter lays out an early foundation for rethinking English language instruction that Dutro and E.L. Achieve associates have evolved over the past decade. The authors introduce a metaphor of a blueprint to describe a well-designed approach to English language development (ELD) instruction throughout the day that includes: Systematic ELD, front-loading language for content instruction (now Constructing Meaning: Explicit language for content learning), and maximizing the “teachable moment” (now fully developed into a vision of instruction). The authors describe the instructional theories and design components that are needed for rigorous second language teaching. They outline how to conceptualize an ELD program, how to design instruction, and how to teach English for academic purposes. 

Dutro, S. and Helman, L. (2009, April)Explicit Language Instruction: A Key to Constructing Meaning. Chapter 3 in Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy Development with English Learners: Research-Based Instruction in Grades K-6. New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.

This chapter examines the complexity of language development for English learners (ELs) and outlines what is needed for elementary school ELs to achieve at high levels in literacy tasks. The authors provide language development theory to help teachers gain insight into their students’ instructional needs, suggestions for structuring the classroom, and powerful instructional routines for teaching and practicing essential language skills. They define and explore an approach to explicit language instruction that encompasses identifying the cognitive task and teaching the language tools (vocabulary and essential grammatical forms) needed to construct and express meaning. 

The annotated readings pages include a range of research articles to assist teachers, principals, and district leaders in building background knowledge about the importance of language learning in academic achievement and best practices for English learner instruction. Shared readings can be infused into facilitated collaborative learning sessions.

Publications by E.L. Achieve’s co-founder, Susana Dutro

Dutro, S., Núñez, R.M., and Helman, L. (2016). Explicit Language Instruction: A Key to Academic Success for English Learners. Chapter 3 in Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy Development with English Learners, Second Edition: Research-Based Instruction in Grades K-6. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

This chapter provides information about the need for explicit language support and identifies a process for designing effective instruction to ensure that English learners gain the foundational and academic language they will need to succeed in school. The authors outline foundational concepts in language development theory and unpack the linguistic challenges faced by ELs. They propose a blueprint for serving ELs to ensure that they receive explicit language instruction throughout the day, and present a research-based vision of such instruction that addresses three critical strands: cognitive tasks, target language, and instruction and application. The chapter includes examples of how to plan and deliver explicit language instruction for Constructing Meaning (integrated ELD) in reading and Systematic (designated) ELD.

At the request of the publishing company, this PDF file is password protected. Please email info@elachieve.org to request the password to open the file. Thank you.

Dutro, S., Levy, E., and Moore, D. (2011). Equipping Adolescent English Learners for Academic Achievement. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Volume 19, Number 4. December 2011/January 2012 International Reading Association.

Dutro and Levy discuss a research-based approach for meeting the academic language needs of adolescent English learners. They recommend making visible the otherwise invisible language of academic content. They address the role oral language plays in developing academic skills and the importance of opportunities to orally process new learning and develop new ways to express understanding.

Dutro, S. and Kinsella, K. (2010). English Language Development: Issues and Implementation at Grades 6–12. Chapter 3 in Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

Dutro and Kinsella offer an approach to rethink English language development (ELD) instruction for adolescent language learners, based on current research and promising practices. They present a model for rigorous standards-aligned ELD instruction, give descriptive examples, and provide practical tools for implementing effective programs at the secondary level. The chapter focuses on explicit teaching of vocabulary and syntactical structures to strengthen students’ oral and written academic English and boost them beyond the intermediate level.

Dutro, S. and Helman, L. (2009, April). Explicit Language Instruction: A Key to Constructing Meaning. Chapter 3 in Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy Development with English Learners: Research-Based Instruction in Grades K-6. New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.

This chapter examines the complexity of language development for English learners and outlines what is needed for elementary school English learners to achieve at high levels in literacy tasks. The authors provide language development theory to help teachers gain insight into their students’ instructional needs, suggestions for structuring the classroom, and powerful instructional routines for teaching and practicing essential language skills. They define and explore an approach to explicit language instruction that encompasses identifying the cognitive task and teaching the language tools (vocabulary and essential grammatical forms) needed to construct and express meaning.

Dutro, S. and Moran, C. (2003). Rethinking English Language Instruction: An Architectural Approach. Chapter 10 in Garcia, G. (Ed.) English Learners: Reaching the Highest Level of English Literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

This chapter lays out an early foundation for rethinking English language instruction that Dutro and E.L. Achieve associates have evolved over the past decade. The authors introduce the metaphor of a blueprint to describe a well-designed approach to English language development (ELD) instruction throughout the day that includes: Systematic ELD, front-loading language for content instruction (now Constructing Meaning: Explicit language for content learning), and maximizing the “teachable moment” (now fully developed into a vision of instruction). The authors describe the instructional theories and design components that are needed for rigorous second language teaching and outline how to conceptualize an ELD program, design instruction, and teach English for academic purposes. 

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