For this inquiry blog, I will be exploring various reading strategies for adolescent ELLs to use when reading content-area literature. I believe this is important, as ELLs often struggle with content area literacy and learning. We have learned in TESOL methods that ELLs have a hard time with things like academic vocabulary; and the intense load of learning a new language, a new culture, and new content material all at the same time can be rather overwhelming. I wish to discover ways to help my future students navigate content area texts in order to have higher success rates in content area classes.

First, I already know a bit about reading strategies. I know that pre-teaching key vocabulary terms and re-reading the text are both useful strategies. Much of what I know at this point are strategies for elementary ELLs. Some of their strategies include reading text aloud, processing it in groups, and creating visual representations of the text. While some of those strategies, along with the use of graphic organizers, could probably transfer to adolescent education, I believe there are strategies out there that will be especially beneficial to older ELLs. I do also know that, as hinted at above, ELLs struggle with content area knowledge and literature, and those are often areas where success could have great impacts on what these students choose to do with their lives.


I would most like to learn reading strategies for ELLs to use in adolescent content area classes. I also have the following questions: How can I use these strategies in my own classroom? What are some examples of practical implementations of these strategies? How might these various strategies positively impact my students’ experiences in content area classes and what might those positive experiences mean for their futures?

Collection of Resources:

Reading Strategies

Reading Skills

TESOL Strategies

Struggles in Content Areas

Strategies for Middle School ELLs


7 thoughts on “Where I Am, and Where I Want to Go

  1. This looks like a good topic, and I’m looking forward to see what you find! Will you be looking into strategies that can be used specifically for adolescent ELLs? Are there any strategies you’ve seen in practicum (or any other classroom observation experiences) that might add to your research?


    1. Yes, I plan to focus on strategies that can be used specifically for adolescent ELLs. I have not yet been able to observe many strategies in practicum, as I have only gone to an adolescent setting once so far. However, when I was in practicum in a third grade classroom last semester, I did observe strategies such as re-reading, KWL charts to activate prior knowledge and ask questions, and pre-teaching of vocabulary terms. Many of these strategies were restricted to English/ELA-type classes, though, so I do not yet know that much about such strategies in content area classrooms. I hope to learn much about strategies to use for adolescent ELLs in content areas during this investigation!


  2. I think this will be extremely beneficial for your future practice. What do you mean by content areas? Does this include ELA? Are you going do differentiate between begining/emerging ELLs and more advanced ELLs in your research?


    1. I suppose by ‘content areas’ I mean math, science, social studies, art, music, and possibly technology. I think I would also include ELA, but that will not be my focus for this investigation (assuming I can find enough information surrounding the other areas), as I feel much more in the dark as to how to approach content area literacy in the other types of classes I listed. I had not really thought about distinguishing between various levels of ELLs, but I would like to. I realize that research specifying between different ELLs might not be easy to come by, but even if I was only able to have distinction between two different levels, I believe that would be very helpful.


  3. I really appreciate how focused you are with your topic and how you are looking into specific questions. As someone who may be teaching ELLs in the future, it will be very useful for me to learn about these strategies that can help students in content classes like mine! Do you think you’ll look for different strategies for each different content area? I know that reading math texts is very different from reading novels for ELA. It could be very interesting to see the techniques experts suggest.


    1. I would very much like to find strategies for each different content area, but may have to generalize a bit, considering the scope of this project. There will likely be a lot of information for each different content area, and I suppose my goal is to at least get a taste of how to best help ELLs decipher content-area texts in a variety of subjects. I think at the very least I could aim to have distinctions between various kinds of texts (analytical, narrative, experimental, report-style, prose, fact-based, opinion-based, etc.). I will definitely do my best to find different strategies for different content areas! 🙂


  4. You know as I was reviewing this I thought…I wonder if you’ve thought about looking at the skills and aligning them with the strategies. What strategies support which skills? Does it look different for ELLs? If so, how? I look forward to seeing what you learn in addition to what we discuss in class. If at anytime over these next two week you have additional insights from this inquiry you are engaged in, please share them with the entire class.


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