Creating an Equitable Learning Environment for English Language Learners Through Being a Reader, Second Edition

Part I—Building the Foundation

The long-awaited second edition of Being a Reader is here! This edition is a comprehensive, researched-based reading curriculum for grades K–2 that combines systematic, sequential foundational skills instruction and rigorous comprehension work with integrated social-emotional learning. The program integrates high-quality, diverse texts that reflect a range of backgrounds, cultures, views, and perspectives.

The new edition also brings feature-packed instructional enhancements and organizational improvements together for rich instruction. One powerful enhancement is that there is now more support for English language learner (ELL) students.

Before we consider these enhancements, let’s unpack why it is imperative to provide equitable academic and language instruction for English language learners.

Teaching English language learners requires a lot of accommodation, understanding, and empathizing on the teacher’s part. An equitable learning environment supports ELL students to excel not only in learning the language faster, but also in acquiring early literacy skills.

Furthermore, ELL students must be provided with scaffolded access to cognitively and linguistically demanding content, which allows them to cultivate their complex thinking and oral communication skills. Bottom line: Equitable practices in the classroom must be implemented to ensure the students are afforded the opportunity to excel academically and socially.

Remember, by providing an equitable learning opportunity for ELL students, you are helping to create a safe classroom culture that respects and honors all students and their autonomy. You are also sending the message that you value the inherent assets or funds of knowledge that culturally and linguistically diverse students bring to the classroom.

Please keep in mind that yes, all students can benefit from academic language development, modeling, scaffolding, and practice, but English language learners absolutely need these instructional components to thrive and survive in school.

So, how do we support these efforts through Being a Reader, Second Edition? In the next two blogs, we will dig in to the two overarching components that were enhanced in support of ELL students, bringing an equitable environment to life:

  • Pre-teaching support that addresses the most challenging aspects of both the lesson’s text and the instruction
  • Strong and intentional ongoing support for differentiation