Unmasking the Early Language and Literacy Needs of ELLs: What K–3 Practitioners Need to Know and Do

Keywords: Early language and literacy, Vocabulary, English Language Learners, English as a Second Language

Abstract

The key underlying developmental concepts and skills requisite for early literacy learning appear to be easily achieved among most young English language learners (ELLs). These strengths, however, may merely mask the need for enhanced vocabulary development, the key variable in successful transitioning from early to academic literacy development in Grades 3–4 and in the longitudinal academic outcomes to Grade 12 that is over-looked by many elementary practitioners. Using illustrative samples of vocabulary profiles generated from children’s early written literacy development, this article highlights the need for elementary practitioners to continue to place a strong instructional focus on developing academic vocabulary, starting in the early grades and sustaining this focus through elementary school. At the same time, young learners need to continue to work on printing and spelling: the keys to unlocking vocabulary knowledge. Ideas for high impact teaching strategies are included.

Author Biography

Hetty Roessingh, University of Calgary
Professor, Werklund School of Education.
Published
2018-02-21
How to Cite
Roessingh, H. (2018). Unmasking the Early Language and Literacy Needs of ELLs: What K–3 Practitioners Need to Know and Do. BC TEAL Journal, 3(1), 22-36. Retrieved from https://ojs-o.library.ubc.ca/index.php/BCTJ/article/view/276
Section
Articles