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 IV

Leveraging Students’ Assets

Specification 10A

Curricular texts include diverse perspectives and engaging topics, suggestions for culturally responsive teaching methods and learning activities that accommodate diverse students with a range of interests, abilities, experiences, and cultures.

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Specification 10B

Teacher materials should guide educators on how to elicit and incorporate cultural knowledge and students’ interests into instructional writing activities.

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Specification 10C

Oral language activities represent multilingualism throughout all oral language activities as an asset and as a resource for learning academic content, disciplinary skills, and English simultaneously. Students are explicitly encouraged to use their home language strategically for learning.

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Specification 11A

Tasks and topics for oral language activities and text engagement should be authentic, relevant, and representative of different backgrounds, languages, interests, and life experiences.

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Specification 12A

Materials present multilingualism as an asset in reading, and students are explicitly encouraged to develop home language literacy and to use their home language strategically for learning how to negotiate texts in the target language.

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Specification 12B

Teacher materials should include instruction on how to garner information that will aid in learning, including the family’s preferred language of communication, schooling experiences in other languages, literacy abilities in other languages, and previous exposure to academic or everyday English.

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Specification 13A

Materials contain scaffolds designed to foster student independence by providing support when needed and removed when the student can access disciplinary concepts or perform disciplinary skills independently.

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Specification 13B

Student and teacher materials provide a broad repertoire of strategies for constructing meaning from disciplinary texts and discussions.

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Specification 13C

Teacher materials and rubrics that emphasize the purpose of a writing task, and not the mode of writing (e.g. compare/contrast), should be given primary emphasis in the presentation of tasks.

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Specification 13D

Writing tasks should encourage students to produce original text and guide them in doing so.

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Specification 13E

Writing tasks avoid relying heavily on fill-in-the-blank writing templates and formulaic guidelines (e.g. write a 5 paragraph letter requesting x, y, z).

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