How to support English Language Learners in the classroom

Read&Write can provide support for students whose first language isn’t English so that they develop the skills needed for language and vocabulary acquisition.

How can we help English language learners in the classroom?

Learning to read and write is a complex task for any learner.

For ELLs, it can be particularly challenging as they have to learn content and a new language all at once. Learning a new language can also be an anxiety-inducing experience for ELL students. So what can we do to support ELLs? 

  1. Firstly, we need to recognize that every ELL will have different learning needs. A balanced and tailored approach that meets different learning styles is best.
  2. With the emotions that learning a new language is likely to elicit, a safe and supportive environment is also essential. To help, we should encourage interactions with other classmates to help ELLs feel part of the whole class.
  3. In terms of topics, it can be useful to merge learning with areas of interest and graphics, such as comics and graphic novels. 
  4. Lastly, blending learning built specifically for ELLs that combines face-to-face teaching with technology is also essential. This allows for social interactions and independent learning.

Introducing Read&Write: our literacy support tool

The accommodations and tools we provide are crucial to secure the success of ELLs in the classroom and beyond. Read&Write makes sure classrooms can do exactly this.

With a toolbar of over 30 different accessibility features, Read&Write caters for ELLs of all learning levels, whether students are brand new to English or more proficient. 

Watch to hear from 8th Grade student, Fares, on how Read&Write helped him learn English.

What Read&Write tools can be used to help ELLs in your classroom?

Read&Write supports ELLs across all levels and stages of their language learning journey:

Limited English proficiency

First is a student with extremely limited English proficiency who needs tools to acquire the basics of the new language. This student has a small vocabulary and little ability to use English in academic settings:

  • Read&Write Translator Icon

    Translator: Students simply have to highlight a word, and select the translator icon to get an instant translation into their home language. In many languages, the translated word can also be read aloud.

  • Read&Write Dictionary Icon

    Picture Dictionary: To help students begin making word meaning associations & memory cues, images in the picture dictionary can help students test their knowledge of word meaning.

    • Read&Write Audio Maker Icon

      Audio Maker: Words, phrases and sentences helpful for navigation in the school environment can be custom created on a Google document then changed into an MP3 file. Students can then listen and repeat, or practice their oral language skills.

    Considerable English-language support needed

    Next are students who need considerable English-language support to make learning understandable. Socially, these students can understand basic conversations and communicate about familiar topics, however, reading comprehension is still very much a challenge. Here are the tools that can help:

    • ReadWrite Text to Speech Icon

      Text-to-speech: Lets students select a word or sentence to be read aloud. Being able to easily hear text at any necessary point is important to shape comprehension and understanding.

    • Read&Write Prediction Icons for Windows and Google Chrome

      Word Prediction: Provides powerful, in-context word prediction as the student types. This can help ELLs with their flow of writing.

      • ReadWrite Vocabulary List Icon

        Vocabulary List Builder: Allows students to create a vocab list from individual words or terms, such as words they find difficult.

      Advanced learners of English

      Last are advanced learners of the English language, who can use academic English in classroom activities with some English-language support. These students can understand most of what they hear but have some difficulty with unfamiliar vocabulary. Here are the tools that these types of ELLs typically use:

      • Read&Write Dictionary Icon

        Dictionary: Lets students select a word they’re unsure of, and have the word, its definition and a sample sentence read aloud. 

      • Read&Write Talk&Type Combined Icon

        Talk&Type: Records speech and transforms what students say into written text. Students can type in English or in their home language and hear what they wrote using Text to Speech.

        • Read&Write Practice Reading Aloud icon

          Practice Reading Aloud: Students canrecord themselves reading, listen back to it and send it to a teacher for feedback. This lets students practise their oral reading fluency and hear how they sound reading.

        Personalize learning for English Language Learners with profile settings and additional voices

        1. Supercharged toolbar settings (Google Chrome): Students can now customize their Read&Write toolbar options, languages and features for different tasks. This means students can easily switch between English and their preferred language. No need to switch back and forth in the one session.

        2. Voices from around the world (Windows): Read&Write now has over 75 new voices in different languages! Students can practice hearing English spoken with different accents, or even explore other languages they're learning.

        What changes can Read&Write make in your classroom?

        Create more confident English language speakers 

        The emotional aspect of learning a new language is often overlooked, yet the experience can bring up feelings of anxiety, alienation and fear. By using Read&Write, students can grow their self-esteem, navigate linguistic challenges with greater ease and become more proficient and self-assured in their English-language skills.

        Let students learn independently

        Read&Write lends instant support to ELLs as they learn a new language. This is an invaluable addition to have on-hand during the learning experience. As a result, students can work independently in many areas, which reduces the need for one-on-one support with teachers.

        Easily implement blended learning methods

        Blended learning that includes both face-to-face instruction and technology is vital when it comes to teaching ELLs. As prevalent as technology is in the classroom, merging these two areas can still prove difficult. But with Read&Write, the easy-to-use flexible toolbar is built for both educators and students. Tools can be used anytime, anywhere, whether students are working in Word Docs, PDFs, or web browsers.

        All this & more available with

        Helps millions of students and adults worldwide to read, write and express themselves independently.

        Are you ready to find out more about Read&Write?

        If you have any questions about Read&Write, you’d like a demo or to talk to us about licensing options, then please complete this form.