ELA Guidelines

Improve your ELA materials & instruction for ELs with our free, comprehensive tool. The ELA Guidelines are divided into five Areas of Focus:

I: Interdependence of Oral Language, Disciplinary Writing, and Text Engagement
II: Sustained Language and Content Support
III: Learner Awareness (Metacognitive Strategies)
IV: Leveraging Students' Assets
V: Formative Assessment
Area of Focus II

Sustained Language and Content Support

Specification 4A

Texts are rarely, if ever, simplified so that students have the opportunity to grapple with grade-level texts and successfully engage with them to build college- and career-readiness. Teachers can provide additional high-quality, relevant texts for context building up to the main reading.

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Specification 4B

Materials apply text engineering (chunking a text in meaningful units, inserting headings, inserting questions) to alert students to key queries to consider before moving on in the text.

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Specification 4C

Materials help teachers indicate what is essential to understand and why it is essential; materials should alert students to connections between texts and concepts.

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Specification 4D

Instead of replacing a word with a simpler word, student texts provide students with reading strategies (e.g. determining words in context) or include parentheses with explanations, definitions, or more details.

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Specification 5A

Curriculum spirals concepts, skills, and language throughout to give students consistent exposure and multiple opportunities to learn them over time.

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Specification 5B

Curriculum spirals concepts, skills, and language throughout with increasing sophistication, precision, and/or complexity.

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Specification 5C

Materials should contain scaffolds (e.g. visual organizers, sentence frames/starters, hands-on materials, role-plays) to support students' developing academic reasoning skills.

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Specification 6A

Materials offer opportunities for students to engage in multiple close readings of complex texts to promote deep understanding of texts' themes, concepts, structure, etc.

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Specification 7A

Materials should include opportunities for the development of research skills, and teacher guidance should demonstrate how to build these skills into the material and lead this endeavor in a collaborative manner before students are required to research independently.

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Specification 7B

Teachers guide students to revise and then edit their writing through a process that focuses on specific issues each time rather than trying to address all content and editing issues simultaneously.

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Specification 7C

Units include pair or group conversation activities that help students practice their abilities to develop and challenge ideas using evidence-based reasoning, allowing them to engage with ideas and engage with ELA practices (inferring meaning from texts, making arguments, supporting claims with text evidence, etc.) before writing extensively about them.

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