What's in your pool bag? Summer Reading Recommendations for Teaching English Language Learners

Every Spring, I get a ton of emails requesting professional reading recommendations for teachers who will be working with ELLs in the coming year. Whether you've been working with ELLs for years and want fresh ideas, or are new to working with ELLs, these books are a must-read!

1. The SIOP Model: Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners
For every teacher in the mainstream working with ELLs, this book is a must read (and if you can take the course, do it!). It offers practical strategies and practices for making content comprehensible to all English language learners through sheltered instruction. Even better, most of the strategies and practices will help ALL your students, not just the ELLs!

2. The Essential Guide for Educating Beginning English Language Learners
Nothing seems to make classroom teachers panic more than getting a newcomer student who doesn't speak any English- especially when the classroom teacher does not speak the student's native language. This book can help! This offers great ideas for everything from welcoming families to helping newcomer ELLs succeed and acquire language across the curriculum. If you expect to have any newcomers this year- read this book!

3. Getting Started with English Language Learners: How Educators Can Meet the Challenge
This is a great book, particularly for teachers who are completely new to working with ELLs. It goes over the basics of Second Language Acquisition and the stages of second language development, offers tips for differentiating for students at different proficiency levels, and touches on strategies for teaching newcomers as well. 

4. Classroom Instruction that Works with English Language Learners
Designed to pair perfectly with Marzano's Classroom Instruction that Works and Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works, this book is a gem. It is filled with practical suggestions backed by sound research. I love it because it not only provides these strategies and suggestions, but tells why they are important for working with ELLs!

5. Assessing English Language Learners: Bridges From Language Proficiency to Academic Achievement 
This is an excellent book that goes into great detail about the challenges that educators face when assessing English language learners and how to overcome those challenges and use assessment to help students grow and move. The author discusses both large-scale and classroom assessment, and how to equitably and comprehensively assess the language proficiency and academic achievement of ELLs.

Have a great summer!


  1. Thanks for posting two of my books. I'm honored to be on your list.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Judie! Your books are great- packed full of important information, but written in an easy-to-read manner.