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Planning Meaningful Instruction for ELLs: Integrating Academic Language and Content in K-12 Classrooms underscores the pivotal role that language and content instruction play in students’ academic success. To participate in content area learning, students need to simultaneously learn the language of the disciplines. The purpose of this book is to provide a clear set of guidelines explaining how to assist English language learners (ELLs) in acquiring the content-based language they need to be successful in school.
Although our main focus is on English language learners, the strategies in this book apply to all learners. In today’s standards-driven classrooms, with a heavy emphasis on communicating using disciplinary language, all students are language learners. Likewise, this book is not only for teachers of ELLs but for all content-area teachers working in diverse classrooms. Ultimately, our goal is to help educators think about issues of language and content instruction by first knowing the strengths and needs of their students and their cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and second, by being aware of the disciplinary language demands of each content area.
The instructional practices discussed in this text are linked to the most current research-based practices in the field of language education. Chapters include a variety of engaging and thought-provoking sections such as: opening classroom vignettes that contextualize the topic at hand; brief STOP and THINK and STOP AND DO sections that encourage readers to reflect on a topic, expand their knowledge on a topic, or engage in specific activities; and links to additional resources. In addition, the chapters end with a section on Extensions for Reflection and Extensions for Action. These activities can be used for classroom discussion, follow-up classroom activities, or brief assignments.
Much of this text was previously published by Pearson as Access to Academics: Planning Instruction for K-12 Classrooms with ELLs (Egbert & Ernst-Slavit, 2010). After copyright was released in 2018 and permission granted by the publisher to revise the text, we decided to update the book and make it an open resource. In the almost ten years since the earlier version of this book was published, we have received many emails and letters from colleagues, students, and readers commenting on how much they enjoyed the book. Throughout our presentations and professional development efforts, we have listened to suggestions and developed new resources and activities for teacher educators to use in their classes and during professional development. Below are some highlights in this new version of the book:

  • It is an open resource available to educators, particularly preservice teachers, for free.
  • As an open resource with a CC:BY license, educators can share, change, or otherwise use the content in ways most suited to them.
  • It assumes that all teachers, regardless of their content area, are language teachers.
  • It assumes that, in today’s standard driven educational contexts, all students are language learners.
  • It can be a focused asset as preservice teachers prepare their edTPA materials.
  • It emphasizes the importance of academic language in relation to standards (e.g., CCSS).

We hope readers will enjoy and benefit from this book. We have tried to keep it engaging, inspiring, accessible, and consistently organized. By writing this open textbook, we wanted to provide students and educators with a useful and practical reference at no cost. Enjoy!
Gisela Ernst-Slavit, Ph.D
Joy Egbert, Ph.D


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