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ELL Writers Hit the Target

Schaumburg SD54, Schaumburg, Illinois
Schaumburg SD54
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Having students achieve reading fluency by the end of third grade is an important goal for the Schaumburg School District in Illinois—and that also includes ELLs.

The district’s language and culture department developed a writing curriculum for a 10-week, after-school assistance program for ELLs in grades 2 through 8.

Students met twice a week and studied one topic at a time, such as weather. Topics aligned with students’ science and social studies classes. Students watched videos, collaborated with peers and read short passages with visual cues.

The teachers were given interactive flipcharts, lesson plans and student reflection pages for planning and instruction. Teachers were also able to model specific strategies to improve each student’s language abilities.

The lessons focus on expository writing in the early grades and opinion/argumentative writing in grades 6 through 8.

In just one year, the ELLs who met the Illinois’ English proficiency criteria jumped from 570  to 707 students.

To start your own program:

  • Use federal funding, or Title III dollars, to create programs that align with instructional framework and promote PD.
  • Promote Professional Learning Communities, non-fiction writing and effective feedback.