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Running head: TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS !

Academic Texts for ELLs and SELLs

Caleb Ricks

National University
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TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS
Academic Texts for ELLs and SELLs

1. Students at the emerging phase have limited English skills. Though their speaking, listening,

reading, and writing skills in English are minimal, students at this level progress relatively

quickly. These students communicate meaning at a basic level, rely on learned phrases and

vocabulary words to communicate, and can read short grade-appropriate texts using visuals

and familiar vocabulary. Though they progress quickly, emerging students require moderate

to considerable language support, especially in social and academic contexts. Students in the

expanding phase have a more developed reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in

English. These students are able to use English to communicate ideas in more meaningful

ways and only require minimal language support in academic and social contexts. Expanding

students are able to begin simple conversations and are eventually able to communicate more

complex ideas orally. These students are also able to read more complex texts independently.

In terms of speaking, expanding students can meet immediate communication needs (such as

in a conversation) and are able to engage in collaborative conversations in English. Bridging

students are able to communicate complex feelings and ideas through speaking and writing.

Their listening and reading skills are well-developed, and these students are able to

understand abstract and concrete topics presented in English. These students are able to

independently read grade-level and complex grade-level texts and are able to initiate and

sustain complex and collaborative discussions in English. Bridging students may still require

moderate to light language support, especially when dealing with unfamiliar topics, but they

do not require any specialized ELD instruction. Native English students who speak non-

standard forms of English, such as African American Vernacular English or Chicano English,
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TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS
are fluent in an English dialect that has its own grammatical rules. Because these

grammatical rules differ from standard English, these students may struggle comprehending

texts and instruction taught in standard English.

2. The two texts that I am choosing for this assignment (11th grade) are Sandra Cisneros’ The

House on Mango Street and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Both of these American literary

texts reveal that identity is not static. It is fluid, ever-changing and evolving based on

environments, beliefs, cultural systems, and human interactions. Although identity is fluid,

one does not always get the chance to choose one’s own identity. It can be manipulated and

molded by the hands of those in a higher position of power. Identity can be directly tied to

one’s gender, one’s race, one’s social class, or a combination of all three. Morrison’s The

Bluest Eye analyzes how one’s identity can be strictly linked to skin color and enforced by

the racial elite. Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street examines how gender and sex-role

expectations are used as tools to enforce the identity of women. Through different female

leads, these novels both reveal the consequences of enforced identity and the difficulties of

defying such an oppressive construct.

3.
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TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS

The House on Mango Street The Bluest Eye


Emerging • extended metaphor and other • extended metaphor and other
figurative language—many may figurative language—explaining
mistake figurative language as and understanding metaphor
literal • African American Vernacular
• reading aloud and independently English dialogue
• poetry vs prose • Keeping track of characters
• descriptive language • understanding chronological order
• vocabulary and discussion about (jumps through time)
poetic and figurative language • vocabulary and discussion about
• sensory language figurative language
• multiple levels of meaning • sensory language expressed as
• vocab: narrator, plot, metaphor, metaphor
simile, and symbolism • metaphorical themes
• collaborative discussion about text • colloquialisms and dialect
• demonstrating understanding of • mature themes
each vignette • how setting contributes to
• expressing complex ideas about meaning (rural south)
text both orally and through • historical context
writing • expressing ideas about themes
• understanding figurative language both orally and through writing
in context • understanding multiple layers of
• summarize what was read meaning (race, gender, class,
• differences between native community, power, beauty)
language and English phonemes • understanding symbolism and
motifs
• understanding setting (south side • literacy vocabulary: theme,
Chicago) symbol, motif, narration, diction,
non-linear plot
• cultural references
• unfamiliar language and complex
ideas
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TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS

The House on Mango Street The Bluest Eye


Expanding • extended metaphor and other • extended metaphor and other
figurative language—many may figurative language—explaining
mistake figurative language as and understanding metaphor
literal • African American Vernacular
• reading aloud and independently English dialogue
• poetry vs prose • understanding chronological order
• sensory language (simile and (jumps through time)
metaphor) • vocabulary and discussion about
• vocabulary in text figurative language
• multiple levels of meaning • sensory language expressed as
• express complex ideas metaphor
• comprehend abstract themes • metaphorical themes
• make connections across text • colloquialisms and dialect
• recognize and understand • mature themes
language subtleties (poetic) • how setting contributes to
• read text independently meaning (rural south)
• initiate and sustain collaborative • historical context
discussion about text • read text independently
• read with full comprehension • initiate and sustain collaborative
• express ideas in written English discussion about text
• understanding figurative language • read with full comprehension
in context • express ideas in written English
• make connections across vignettes • understanding figurative language
• understanding text’s structure in context
(vignettes) and how structure • make connection across and
conveys meaning throughout text
• independently summarize what • independently summarize what
was read was read

Bridging • extended metaphor and other • extended metaphor and other


figurative language—unpacking figurative language—explaining
figurative language to understand and understanding metaphor
multiple levels of meaning • African American Vernacular
• relationships across vignettes English dialogue
• explain inferences from text both • sustaining dialogue in English
orally and through writing about themes and ideas
• comprehend abstract themes as • explain author’s use of language
expressed through figurative and how successful author is in
language expressing theme
• make connections to other texts • understanding and using academic
• determining multiple levels of vocabulary
meaning of theme (social, gender, • close reading of the text to
racial) decipher meaning and support
• explain author’s use of language textual arguments
and how successful author is in • explain inferences made from the
expressing theme text, both orally and through
• understanding and using academic writing
vocabulary • write clear and coherent
• understanding text’s structure summaries of the text
(vignettes) and how structure • present a written argument about
conveys meaning the text
• connecting literal ideas to abstract • independently writing about the
ideas text in a well-structured essay
• when writing, condense ideas into • understanding the text’s structure
concise sentences
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TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS

The House on Mango Street The Bluest Eye


Bridging • extended metaphor and other • extended metaphor and other
figurative language—unpacking figurative language—explaining
figurative language to understand and understanding metaphor
multiple levels of meaning • African American Vernacular
• relationships across vignettes English dialogue
• explain inferences from text both • sustaining dialogue in English
orally and through writing about themes and ideas
• comprehend abstract themes as • explain author’s use of language
expressed through figurative and how successful author is in
language expressing theme
• make connections to other texts • understanding and using academic
• determining multiple levels of vocabulary
meaning of theme (social, gender, • close reading of the text to
racial) decipher meaning and support
• explain author’s use of language textual arguments
and how successful author is in • explain inferences made from the
expressing theme text, both orally and through
• understanding and using academic writing
vocabulary • write clear and coherent
• understanding text’s structure summaries of the text
(vignettes) and how structure • present a written argument about
conveys meaning the text
• connecting literal ideas to abstract • independently writing about the
ideas text in a well-structured essay
• when writing, condense ideas into • understanding the text’s structure
concise sentences
Non-Standard English • listening comprehension (if not • listening comprehension (if not
speaker of Chicano English) speaker of AAVE)
• reading text written in Standard • reading text written in Standard
English English
• understanding figurative language • understanding figurative language
in Standard English in Standard English
• reading conversations in Chicano • reading conversations in AAVE
English (of not a speaker) (of not a speaker)
• vocabulary words • vocabulary words
• Discerning theme • Discerning theme
• close reading and analyzing • close reading and analyzing
textual evidence textual evidence
• relating to text • relating to text
• summarizing text in SE • summarizing text in SE

After considering what my ELL students may struggle with when reading

academic texts, I now understand how to assist these students. I also understand how

much of a challenge it will be to teach texts that use figurative language to students who

are just beginning to learn English. This, I believe, is why so many teachers contribute to

the watered-down instruction given to ELL students. Many teachers are intimidated

because they not know how to teach ELL students figurative language, extended
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TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS
metaphors, or multiple levels of meanings. Of course, I m not saying that I already know

how to do this, but I do believe that ELL students, like any student, are fully capable of

learning these ideas. Students who do not speak English as their first language still have

a literacy in their native language. In these native languages, these students are exposed

to vast amounts of figurative language, so it is not that they do not understand metaphors

and similes, but that it may be difficult to separate the literal from the figurative when

learning a new language. Again, this is not because these students are empty vessels, but

because they are learning new mechanics in a new language and therefore need our

assistance. For this reason, I will never decide to give my ELL students less homework

than native English speakers. ELL students are just as capable of understanding the

English language as any student, and subjecting them to a less-than education is

unacceptable.

Having this new understanding of the levels of language proficiency has made me

more confident when thinking about teaching ELL students. I now have to knowledge of

checkpoints so that I can assess my students’ progress. I can use my knowledge to each

stage to ensure that my ELL students are mastering the necessary skills to improve their

English language competency. This knowledge also allows me to set realistic goals for

these students to achieve and provides me the necessary tools to help them achieve these

goals. From studying the charts provided in this week’s unit, I am aware that

collaboration and discussion, not only writing and reading, are essential skills to practice

when mastering English. I will ensure that my ELL students are integrated with my

native English speaking students so that they can collaborate and grow as speakers and

students.
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TEXTS FOR ELL STUDENTS