NCTE Position Paper on the Role of English Teachers in Educating English Language Learners (ELLs)

Prepared by the NCTE ELL Task Force

Approved by the NCTE Executive Committee, April 2006

This position paper is designed to address the knowledge and skills mainstream teachers need to have in order to develop effective curricula that engage English language learners, develop their academic skills, and help them negotiate their identities as bilingual learners. More specifically, this paper addresses the language and literacy needs of these learners as they participate and learn in English-medium classes. NCTE has made clear bilingual students’ right to maintain their native languages (see “On Affirming the CCCC ‘Students’ Right to Their Own Language’ “ [1] 2003). Thus, this paper addresses ways teachers can help these students develop English as well as ways they can support their students’ bilingualism. In the United States bilingual learners, more commonly referred to as English language learners, are defined as students who know a language other than English and are learning English. Students’ abilities range from being non-English speakers to being fully proficient. The recommendations in this paper apply to all of them.


The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) reported that in 2003-04 there were over five million English language learners (ELLs) in schools in the United States (NCELA, 2004). In the last ten years the ELL population has grown 65%, and the diversity of those students continues to challenge teachers and schools. Although 82% of ELLs in the United States are native Spanish speakers, Hopstock and Stephenson (2003) found that school districts identified over 350 different first languages for their second language learners.

Federal, state, and local policies have addressed the education of bilingual learners by implementing different types of programs. Different models of bilingual education, English as a Second Language, English immersion, and integration into mainstream classes, sometimes referred to as submersion, are among the most common approaches. Preferences for the types of programs have changed over time, responding to demographic and political pressures. (For a historical and descriptive summary, see NCTE’s “Position Statement on Issues in ESL and Bilingual Education”; Brisk, 2006; Crawford, 2004.)

The best way to educate bilingual learners has been at the center of much controversy. Research points to the advantage of quality bilingual programs (Greene, 1997; Ramirez, 1992; Rolstad, Mahoney, & Glass, 2005; Thomas & Collier, 2002; Willig, 1985) and the benefits of ESL instruction when language is taught through content (Freeman, Y. S., & Freeman, D. E., 1998; Marcia, 2000).

For a variety of reasons, however, the majority of ELLs find themselves in mainstream classrooms taught by teachers with little or no formal professional development in teaching such students (Barron & Menken, 2002; Kindler, 2002). Although improving the education of ELLs has been proposed as a pressing national educational priority (Waxman & Téllez, 2002), many teachers are not adequately prepared to work with a linguistically diverse student population (American Federation of Teachers, 2004; Fillmore & Snow, 2002; Gándara, Rumberger, Maxwell-Jolly, & Callahan, 2003; Menken & Antunez, 2001; Nieto, 2003).

Teachers working to better meet the needs of linguistically diverse students need support. NCTE encourages English teachers to collaborate and work closely with ESL and bilingual teaching professionals, who can offer classroom support, instructional advice, and general insights into second language acquisition. School administrators should support and encourage teachers to attend workshops and professional conferences that regularly offer sessions on bilingual learners, particularly in the areas of reading and writing. Schools should also consider seeking professional development for their teachers from neighboring colleges.

In turn, colleges and universities providing teacher education should offer all preservice teachers, as well as teachers pursuing advanced degree work, preparation in teaching linguistically diverse learners in their future classrooms. Coursework should be offered on second language writing and reading, and on second language acquisition, as well as on culture, and should be encouraged for all teachers.

Who Are the Students?

Bilingual students differ in various ways, including level of oral English proficiency, literacy ability in both the heritage language and English, and cultural backgrounds. English language learners born in the United States often develop conversational language abilities in English but lack academic language proficiency. Newcomers, on the other hand, need to develop both conversational and academic English. Education previous to entering U.S. schools helps determine students’ literacy levels in their native language. Some learners may have age-/grade-level skills, while others have limited or no literacy because of the quality of previous schooling, interrupted schooling due to wars or migration, and other circumstances (Suárez-Orozco & Suárez-Orozco, 2001). Given the wide range of English language learners and their backgrounds, it is important that all teachers take the time to learn about their students, particularly in terms of their literacy histories.

Immigrant students and the children of immigrants in the United States come from many cultural backgrounds. The background knowledge English learners bring to school greatly affects their performance. For this reason, teachers of English language learners should be sure to build background for content lessons rather than assuming that bilingual students come with the same background knowledge as mainstream students.

Teaching Bilingual Learners in Mainstream Classrooms

This section specifically addresses teaching language, reading, and writing, as well as the specific kinds of academic literacy that are often a part of most English and language arts curricula. Although English language arts teachers have literacy as the focus of their teaching, many of these suggestions are useful for teachers working in the content areas as well. To acquire academic content through English, English language learners need to learn English. The academic language that students need in the different content areas differs, and students need scaffolding to help them to learn both the English language and the necessary content. For English language learners, teachers need to consider content objectives as well as English language development objectives.

Bilinguals need three types of knowledge to become literate in a second language. They need to know the second language; they need to know literacy; and they need world knowledge (Bernhardt, 1991). The sections below list key ideas for helping English language learners develop academic English proficiency. More detailed information on the topics covered in this section can be obtained from the topical bibliography compiled as part of this project.

To teach bilingual learners, teachers must get to know their learners.

Knowledge of the Students

Knowledge of the students is key to good teaching. Because teachers relate to students both as learners and as children or adolescents, teachers must establish how they will address these two types of relationships, what they need to know about their students, and how they will acquire this knowledge. The teacher-learner relationship implies involvement between teachers and students around subject matter and language and literacy proficiency in both languages. Adult-child relationships are more personal and should include the family. Focusing on both types of relationships bridges the gap between school and the world outside it, a gap that is especially important for many bilingual students whose world differs greatly from school.

Teaching Language

Second language learners need to develop academic proficiency in English to master content-area subjects. Teachers can provide effective instruction for these students by:

Teaching Literacy: Reading

Bilingual students also need to learn to read and write effectively in order to succeed in school.

Teachers can support English language learners’ literacy development by:

Support reading comprehension by:

Teaching Literacy: Writing

Writing well in English is often the most difficult skill for English language learners to master. Many English language learners are still acquiring vocabulary and syntactic competence in their writing. Students may show varying degrees of acquisition, and not all second language writers will have the same difficulties or challenges. Teachers should be aware that English language learners may not be familiar with terminology and routines often associated with writing instruction in the United States, including writing process, drafting, revision, editing, workshop, conference, audience, purpose, or genre. Furthermore, certain elements of discourse, particularly in terms of audience and persuasion, may differ across cultural contexts. The same is true for textual borrowing and plagiarism. The CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Writers [2]is a useful resource for all teachers of writing to examine.

Teachers can provide instructional support for English language learners in their writing by:

Teaching Language and Content

The best way to help students learn both English and the knowledge of school subjects is to teach language through content. This should not replace reading and writing instruction in English, nor study of literature and grammar. There are three key reasons to do this:

  1. Students get both language and content.Research has shown that students can learn English and subject matter content material at the same time. Students don’t need to delay the study of science or literature until they reach high levels of English. Instead, they can learn both simultaneously. Given the time limitations older students face, it is crucial that classes provide them with both academic content-area knowledge and academic English.
  2. Language is kept in its natural context.When teachers teach science in English, students learn science terms as they study biology or chemistry. The vocabulary occurs naturally as students read and discuss science texts.
  3. Students have reasons to use language for real purposes.The primary purpose of school is to help students develop the knowledge of different academic disciplines. When academic content is presented in English, students focus on the main purpose of schooling: learning science, math, social studies, or literature. In the process, they also learn English.

Selecting Materials

Low-Level Literacy Immigrant Students

Late-arrival immigrant and refugee students with low literacy skills have been found to benefit from Newcomer programs or Welcome Centers designed for 1-3 semesters of high school (Boyson & Short, 2003; Schnur, 1999; Short, 2002). The focus is to help students acquire beginning English skills and guide students’ acculturation to the U.S. school system before enrollment in regular ESL language support programs or content-area classrooms. The integration of such programs in high school English departments should be encouraged.


As the number of bilingual learners in mainstream classes increases, it becomes even more important for mainstream teachers to use effective practices to engage these students so that they can acquire the academic English and the content-area knowledge they need for school success. The guidelines offered here are designed as initial suggestions for teachers to follow. However, we recognize that all teachers need much more. Teachers need continued support and professional development to enable all their students, including their bilingual students, to succeed.


American Federation of Teachers. (March, 2004). Closing the achievement gap: Focus on Latino students (Policy Brief 17). Retrieved March 28, 2006, from [3]

Barron, V., & Menken, K. (2002). What are the characteristics of the bilingual education and ESL teacher shortage? Washington, D.C.: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs.

Bernhardt, E. B. (1991). A psycholinguistic perspective on second language literacy. Reading in Two Languages. AILA Review, 8, 31-44.

Boyson, B. A., & Short, D. J. (2003). Secondary school newcomer programs in the United States (Research Report 12). Santa Cruz, CA, and Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education Diversity & Excellence.

Brisk, M. E. (2006). Bilingual education: From compensatory to quality schooling. (2nd ed.) Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Crawford, J. (2004). Educating English learners. Los Angeles: Bilingual Education Services.

De Jong, E. J. (2002). Effective bilingual education: From theory to academic achievement in a two-way bilingual program. Bilingual Research Journal, 26(1); 1-15.

Fillmore, L. W., & Snow, C. (2002). What teachers need to know about language. In C. T. Adger, C. Snow, & D. Christian (Eds.), What teachers need to know about language (pp. 7-53). Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Freeman, Y. S., & Freeman, D. E. (1998). ESL/EFL teaching: Principles for success. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Freeman, Y., and Freeman, D. (2002). Closing the achievement gap. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Freeman, D., and Freeman, Y. (2004). Essential linguistics: Everything you need to know to teach reading, ESL, spelling, phonics, and grammar. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Gándara, P., Rumberger, R., Maxwell-Jolly, J., & Callahan, R. (2003). English learners in California schools: Unequal resources, unequal outcomes. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11 (36). Retrieved March 28, 2006, from [4]

Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Greene, J. P. (1997). A meta-analysis of the Rossell and Baker review of bilingual education research. Bilingual Research Journal, 21.

Hopstock, P. & Stephenson, T. (2003). Native languages of limited English proficient students. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved March 5, 2006.

Kindler, A. L. (2002). Survey of the states’ limited English proficient students and available educational programs and services 1999-2000 summary report. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Education Programs (NCELA). Retrieved Dec. 26, 2003, from [5]

Krashen, S. (1996). Under attack: The case against bilingual education. Culver City, CA: Language Education Associates.

McQuillan, J., & Tse, L. (1997). Does research matter? An analysis of media opinion of bilingual education, 1984-1994. Bilingual Research Journal, 20(1), 1-27.

Menken, K., & Antunez, B. (2001). An overview of the preparation and certification of teachers working with limited English proficient students. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse of Bilingual Education. Retrieved July 28, 2003, from [6].

NCELA. (2006). The growing number of limited English proficient students 1991-2002. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Nieto, S. M. (2003). What keeps teachers going? New York: Teachers College.

Pally, M. (Ed.) (2000). Sustained content teaching in academic ESL/EFL: A practical approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Ramirez, J. D. (1992). Executive summary. Bilingual Research Journal, 16, 1-62.

Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K., & Glass, G. V. (2005) The big picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness research on English language learners. Educational Policy, 19, 572–594.

Schnur, B. (1999). A newcomer’s high school. Educational Leadership, 56 (7), 50–52.

Short, D. J. (2002). Newcomer programs: An educational alternative for secondary immigrant students. Education and Urban Society 34(2), 173–198.

Solomon, J., & Rhodes, N. (1995). Conceptualizing academic language. Washington, DC: The National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning.

Suárez-Orozco, C., & Suárez-Orozco, M. M. (2001). Children of immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Thomas, W. P., & Collier, V. P. (2002). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students’ long-term academic achievement. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Waxman, H. C., & Téllez, K. (2002). Research synthesis on effective teaching practices for English language learners (Publication Series No. 3). Philadelphia: Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory.

Willig, A. C. (1985). A meta-analysis of selected studies on the effectiveness of bilingual education. Review of Educational Research, 55(3), 269–317.

Web-based Resources

Michael Krauss – [7]
Comprehensive K-12 teacher resources for ESL/ELL.

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition In the Classroom – [8]
Practical resources for linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms.

Language and Education Links – [9]
Includes, among others, sections on Bilingual Education & ESL, Language & Culture, and Technology.

NCELA Online Library – [10]
Access hundreds of articles and publications on educating linguistically and culturally diverse students.

Online Directory of ESL Resources – A searchable database of the most useful ESL resources, primarily for teachers and students, from the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education and the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics. Look especially in the pre-formed search for megasites.

English Second Language (AskERIC) – Annotated list of resources, including lesson plans, internet sites, listservs, and organizations.

ESL Department (NWREL) – Annotated list of resources

English Language Instructional Support for English Language Learners (ODE) –
English Language Learner (ELL) Standards.

Supporting English Language Learners

Classroom Methods and Materials

Akhavan, N. L. (2006) Help! My kids don’t all speak English: How to set up a language workshop in your linguistically diverse classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Day, F. A. (1997). Latina and Latino voices in literature. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Dragan, P. B. (2005). A how-to guide for teaching English language learners in the primary classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Freeman, Y. S., & Freeman, D. E. (1998). ESL/EFL teaching: Principles for success. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Kucer, S. B., Silva, C., & Delgado-Larocco, E. L. (1995). Curricular conversations: Themes in multilingual and monolingual classrooms. York, ME: Stenhouse.

Law, B., & Eckes, M. (1990). The more-than-just-surviving handbook: ESL for every classroom teacher. Winnipeg: Peguis.

Mercuri, S., Freeman, Y. S., & Freeman, D. E. (2002). Closing the achievement gap: How to reach limited-formal-schooling and long-term English learners. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Reyes, M. D., & Halcón, J. J. (Eds.) (2001). The best for our children: Critical perspectives on literacy for Latino students. New York: Teachers College Press.

Rigg, P., & Allen, V. (Eds.). (1989). When they don’t all speak English: Integrating the ESL student into the regular classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Rigg, P., & Enright, D. S. (1986). Children and ESL: Integrating perspectives. Washington, DC: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Scarcella, R. (1990). Teaching language minority students in the multicultural classroom. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Scarcella, R. C., & Oxford, R. L. (1992). The tapestry of language learning: The individual in the communicative classroom. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Van Sluys, K. (2005). What if and why?: Literacy invitations in multilingual classrooms. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Content Area Instruction

Brinton, D., & Master, P. (Eds.). (1997). New ways in content-based instruction. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Burke, A. F., & O’Sullivan, J. (2002). Stage by stage: A handbook for using drama in the second language classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Chamot, A., & O’Malley, M. (1989). The cognitive academic language learning approach. In P. Rigg & V. Allen (Eds.), When they don’t all speak English: Integrating the ESL student into the regular classroom (pp. 108-25). Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Chamot, A., & O’Malley, M. (1994). Instructional approaches and teaching procedures. In K. Spangenberg-Urbschat & R. Pritchard (Eds.), Kids come in all languages: Reading instruction for ESL students (pp. 82-107). Newark, DE: IRA.

Dong, Y. R. (2004). Teaching language and content to linguistically and culturally diverse students: Principles, ideas, and materials. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Snow, M., & Brinton, D. (Eds.). (1997). The content-based classroom: Perspectives on integrating language and content. White Plains, NY: Longman.


Cummins, J., & Sayers, D. (1997). Brave new schools: Challenging cultural illiteracy through global learning networks (2nd ed.). New York: St. Martin’s.

Special Education and English Language Learners

Artiles, A. J., & Ortiz, A. A. (Eds.). (2002). English language learners with special education needs: Identification, assessment, and instruction. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Elementary English Language Learners: Teaching Reading and Writing

Akhavan, N. L. (2004). How to align literacy instruction, assessment, and standards and achieve results you never dreamed possible. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Akhavan, N. L. (2006). Help! My kids don’t all speak English: How to set up a language workshop in your linguistically diverse classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Barbieri, M. (2002). “Change my life forever”: Giving voice to English-language learners. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Brisk, M. E., & Harrington, M. M. (2000). Literacy and bilingualism: A handbook for ALL teachers. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Cary, S. (2004). Going graphic: Comics at work in the multilingual classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Enright, D. S., & McCloksey, M. L. (1988). Integrating English: Developing English language and literacy in the multilingual classroom. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Freeman, Y., & Freeman, D. (2006) Teaching reading and writing in Spanish and English in bilingual and dual language classrooms (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Freeman, D. E., & Freeman, Y. S. (2000). Teaching reading in multilingual classrooms. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Freeman, Y. S., & Freeman, D. E. (1996). Teaching reading and writing in Spanish in the bilingual classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hudelson, S. (1986). ESL children’s writing: What we’ve learned, what we’re learning. In P. Rigg & D. S. Enright (Eds.), Children and ESL: Integrating perspectives (pp. 23-54). Washington, DC: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Hudelson, S. (1989). Write on: Children writing in ESL. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Peregoy, S. F., & Boyle, O. F. (2001). Reading, writing, and learning in ESL: A resource book for K-12 teachers. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Samway, K. D. (2006). When English language learners write. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Samway, K., Whang, G., & Pippitt, M. (1995). Buddy reading: Cross age tutoring in a multicultural school. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Saunders, W., O’Brien, G., Lennon, D., & McLean, J. (1999). Successful transition into mainstream English: Effective strategies for studying literature (Educational Practice Report No. 2). Santa Cruz, CA and Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence.

Spangenberg-Urbschat, K., & Pritchard, R. (Eds.). (1994). Kids come in all languages: Reading instruction for ESL students. Newark, DE: IRA.

Middle and Secondary English Language Learners

Faltis, C. J., & Wolfe, P. (1999). So much to say: Adolescents, bilingualism, and ESL in the secondary school. New York: Teachers College Press.

Faltis, C. J. (1997). Joinfostering: Adapting teaching for the multilingual classroom. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Franklin, E. (1999). School success for secondary English learners. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Freeman, Y., & Freeman, D. (2002) Closing the achievement gap: How to reach long term and limited formal schooling English language learners. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Fu, D. (1995). “My trouble is my English”: Asian students and the American dream. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.

García, O. (1999). Educating Latino high school students with little formal schooling. In C. J. Faltis & P. Wolfe (Eds.), So much to say: Adolescents, bilingualism, and ESL in the secondary school (pp. 61-82). New York: Teachers College Press.

Lucas, T. (1996). Promoting secondary school transitions for immigrant adolescents (No. EDO-FL-97-04). Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Lucas, T. (1997). Into, through, and beyond secondary school: Critical transitions for immigrant youths. McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Mace-Matluck, B., Alexander-Kasparik, R., & Queen, R. (1998). Through the golden door: Education approaches to immigrant adolescents with limited schooling. McHenry, IL: Delta Systems.

Olsen, L., & Jaramillo, A. (1999). Turning the tides of exclusion: A guide for educators and advocates for immigrant students. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow.

Peitzman, F., & Gadda, G. (1994). With different eyes: Insights into teaching language minority students across the disciplines. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Ruiz de Velasco, J., Fix, M., & Chu Clewell, B. (2000). Overlooked and underserved: Immigrant students in U.S. secondary schools. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Walqui, A. (2000). Strategies for success: Engaging immigrant students in secondary schools (ERIC Digest). Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.

College and Adult English Language Learners

Blanton, L. L. (1998). Varied voices: On language and literacy learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Harklau, L. A., Losey, K. M., & Siegal, M. (Eds.). (1999). Generation 1.5 meets college composition: Issues in the teaching of writing to U.S.-educated learners of ESL. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Leki, I. (1992). Understanding ESL writers: A guide for teachers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Matsuda, P. K., Cox, M., Jordan, J., and Ortmeier-Hooper, C. (Eds.). (2006). Second-language writing in the composition classroom: A critical sourcebook. Boston and Urbana, IL: Bedford/St. Martin’s and NCTE.

Peyton, J. K. (Ed.). (1990). Students and teachers writing together: Perspectives on journal writing. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Silva, T., & Matsuda, P. K. (Eds.). (2001). Landmark essays on ESL writing. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Theoretical Perspective and Issues


August, D., & Hakuta, K. (1997). Improving schooling for language-minority children: A research agenda. Washington, DC: Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

Berman, P. (1992). Meeting the challenge of language diversity: An evaluation of programs for pupils with limited proficiency in English (Executive Summary No. R-119/1). Berkeley, CA: BW Associates.

Elley, W. (1998). Raising literacy levels in third world countries: A method that works. Culver City, CA: Language Education Associates.

Ferreiro, E., & Teberosky, A. (1982). Literacy before schooling (K. G. Castro, Trans.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

González, J., & Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). New concepts for new challenges: Professional development for teachers of immigrant youth. McHenry, IL: Delta Systems and the Center for Applied Linguistics.

Krashen, S. D. (1985). Inquiries and insights. Haywood, CA: Alemany Press.

Krashen, S. D. (2004). The power of reading: Insights from the research. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Krashen, S. D. (1993). The power of reading. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Perez, B. (2004). Becoming biliterate: A study of two-way bilingual immersion education. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Saunders, W., O’Brien, G., Lennon, D., & McLean, J. (1999). Successful transition into mainstream English: Effective strategies for studying literature (Educational Practice Report No. 2). Santa Cruz, CA and Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence.

Smith, J. W. A., & Elley, W. B. (1994). Learning to read in New Zealand. Katonah, NY: Richard C. Owen.

Thomas, W. P., & Collier, V. P. (2001). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students’ long-term academic achievement: Final report: Project 1.1. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence.

Culture, Contexts, and Experience

Igoa, C. (1995). The inner world of the immigrant child. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Nieto, S. (1999). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education (3rd ed.). New York: Longman.

Nieto, S. (1999). The light in their eyes: Creating multicultural learning communities. New York: Longman.

Valdés, G. (1996). Con respeto: Bridging the distances between culturally diverse families and schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Valdés, G. (2001). Learning and not learning English: Latino students in American schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Vopat, J. (1994). The parent project: A workshop approach to parent involvement. York, ME: Stenhouse.

Linguistics and Sociolinguistics for English Language Learners

Freeman, Y. S., & Freeman, D. E. (2004). Essential linguistics: What you need to know to teach reading, ESL, spelling, phonics, and grammar. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Johnson, K. E. (1995). Understanding communication in second language classrooms. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Piper, T. (1993). Language for ALL our children. New York: Merrill.

Wells, G., & Chang-Wells, G. L. (1992). Constructing knowledge together: Classrooms as centers of inquiry and literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

(Second) Language Acquisition and Development

Carrasquillo, A. L., & Rodríguez, V. (1996). Language minority students in the mainstream classroom. Philadelphia, PA: Multilingual Matters.

Cary, S. (2000). Working with second language learners: Answers to teachers’ top ten questions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Celce-Murcia, M. (2001). Teaching English as a second or foreign language (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Freeman, D. E., & Freeman, Y. S. (2000). Between worlds: Access to second language acquisition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

García, E. (2002). Student cultural diversity: Understanding and meeting the challenge (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Gersten, R., & Jiménez, R. (Eds.). (1997). Promoting learning for culturally and linguistically diverse students. Albany, NY: Wadsworth Publishing.

Gibbons, P. (1993). Learning to learn in a second language. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

González, V. (1999). Language and cognitive development in second language learning: Educational implications for children and adults. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Holt, D. (Ed.). (1986). Beyond language: Social and cultural factors in schooling language minority students. Los Angeles: Evaluation, Dissemination, and Assessment Center, School of Education, California State University, Los Angeles.

Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. New York: Pergamon Press.

Krashen, S. D. (1992). Fundamentals of language education. Torrance, CA: Laredo.

Krashen, S. D. (2003). Explorations in language acquisition and use. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Krashen, S. D., Tse, L., & McQuillan, J. (1998). Heritage language development. Culver City, CA: Language Education Associates.

Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. H. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition research. New York: Longman.

Lindfors, J. (1987). Children’s language and learning (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Menyuk, P., & Brisk, M. E. (2005). Language development and education: Children with varying language experience. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Miramontes, O. B., Nadeau, A., & Commins, N. (1997). Restructuring schools for linguistic diversity: Linking decision making to effective programs. New York: Teachers College Press.

Mohan, B., Leung, C., & Davison, C. (Eds.). (2001). English as a second language in the mainstream. Harlow, UK: Longman.

Olsen, L. (1989). Bridges: Promising programs for the education of immigrant children. San Francisco: California Tomorrow.

Piper, T. (2001). And then there were two: Children and second-language learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Richard-Amato, P. (2001). Making it happen: Interactions in the second language classroom: From theory to practice (3rd ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.

Bilingual Education (and Dual Language)

Baker, C. (1993). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Philadelphia, PA: Multilingual Matters.

Brisk, M. E. (1998). Bilingual education: From compensatory to quality schooling. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Christian, D., Montone, C., Lindholm, K., & Carranza, I. (1997). Profiles in two-way immersion education. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics & Delta Systems.

Cloud, N., Genesse, F., & Hamayan, E. (2000). Dual language instruction: A handbook for enriched education. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Crawford, J. (Ed.). (1992). Language loyalties: A source book on the official English controversy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Crawford, J. (1999). Bilingual education: History, politics, theory and practice (4th ed.). Los Angeles: Bilingual Educational Services.

Crawford, J. (2004). Educating English learners: Language diversity in the classroom (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Bilingual Educational Services.

Cummins, J. (1996). Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society. Los Angeles: California Association of Bilingual Education.

Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Daniels, H. (Ed.). (1990). Not only English: Affirming America’s multilingual heritage. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Edelsky, C. (1986). Writing in a bilingual program: Había una vez. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Faltis, C., & Hudelson, S. (1998). Bilingual education in elementary and secondary school communities: Toward understanding and caring. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Freeman, Y. S., Freeman, D. E., & Mercuri, S. (2005). Dual language essentials for teachers and administrators. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Krashen, S. D. (1996). Under attack: The case against bilingual education. Culver City, CA: Language Education Associates.

Lemberger, N. (1997). Bilingual education: Teachers’ narratives. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Lessow-Hurley, J. (1996). The foundations of dual language instruction. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers USA.

Lindholm-Leary, K. J. (2001). Dual language education. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Ovando, C., & Collier, V. (1998). Bilingual and ESL classrooms: Teaching in multicultural contexts (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pérez, B., & Torres-Guzmán, M. E. (2001). Learning in two worlds: An integrated Spanish/English biliteracy approach. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Samway, K. D., & McKeon, D. (1999). Myths and realities: Best practices for language minority students. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1983). Bilingualism or not: The education of minorities. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Soltero, S. W. (2004). Dual language: Teaching and learning in two languages. Boston, Pearson.

Tse, L. (2001). Why don’t they learn English?: Separating fact from fallacy in the U.S. language debate. New York: Teachers College Press.

Whitmore, K. F., & Crowell, C. G. (1994). Inventing a classroom: Life in a bilingual, whole language learning community. York, ME: Stenhouse.

Prepared by the ELL Task Force:


This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.