5 Simple Strategies For English Language Learners

Gateway High School > Parents > 5 Simple Strategies For English Language Learners

By 2025, 25% of public school students will be multilingual learners, according to the NEA. As champions of equitable classroom instruction, the teachers, administrators and staff at Gateway High School are committed to supporting our English Language Learners (ELLs) in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE).

In offering support in English language development, the CLDE staff ensure that all students have challenging and equitable learning opportunities that value their linguistic and cultural diversity and their unique identities.

At Gateway, ELLs enroll at various points of language literacy and development. Beyond reading and writing, ELLs are challenged to use relevant aspects of the English language in academics and be aware of how language functions across the curriculum to be successful.

Right now, it’s more important than ever for ELLs and their families to continue to work toward language acquisition, so everyone can stay in contact with teachers and administrators and be informed of changing district policies.

Continue reading for 5 simple strategies that help ELLs and families of ELLs work toward language acquisition.


1. Dissect unfamiliar words

Breaking down unfamiliar words can build on the background knowledge of ELLs and increase comprehension. While the English language can be uniquely challenging, many languages have cognates that are helpful in the understanding of unfamiliar or compound English words.

Like using word families, dissecting unfamiliar words can also highlight common English language structures and pronunciation patterns. This strategy equips students with a tool to decipher word meaning on their own.


2. Focus on phrases

Phrases offer an opportunity to simplify academic language acquisition. Focusing on phrases that are used often in a school setting will help ELLs communicate effectively with teachers and peers and will also provide a useful foundation for understanding textbooks and assignments.

This strategy provides an easy way for ELLs to master the most commonly used words and phrases in an academic setting. Consistent communication at school can make a significant difference in not only English language acquisition, but also in the support ELLs and their families receive from the school. 


3. Read anything and everything

ELLs benefit from increased exposure to printed language, including access to books, reference materials, and posters in an academic setting, as well as labels, signs, and news publications in informal settings. Language acquisition requires repetition, so using surroundings as a source of study can reinforce previously learned concepts.

Additionally, reading new English words and phrases from different environments can encourage creative vocabulary development and increase self-confidence in word choice. 


4. Say it out loud

While this may seem simple, saying words and phrases out loud is an excellent way to verbally practice and demonstrate English speaking abilities. Speaking new words out loud allows ELLs to have an informal assessment of their use of language structures and academic vocabulary.

Research suggests that positive and effective English-language learning conditions can foster a strong environment of collaboration, dialogue, and engagement. Two key factors in effective language acquisition are time and practice. English acquisition doesn’t happen overnight, but with practice, it is swiftly attainable.


5. Ask for feedback

Communicating clearly in English unlocks countless personal and professional post-secondary opportunities. To avoid cementing incorrect language usage, it’s important that ELLs get constructive and effective feedback.

In addition to focusing on the mechanics and rules of English language, it’s important to focus on the strengths and flow of speech. When receiving any feedback, students must focus on the positive and be aware of their own progress.


The CLDE department at Gateway collectively works to accelerate learning for every student, every day by being learners, leaders and advocates by promoting language acquisition through culturally and linguistically responsive practices. Learn more about the services Gateway offers to ELLs here.

Additionally, the CLDE staff at Gateway ensure high expectations so all students can be contributing members of a multicultural society. Learn more about our English Language Development staff here.