English Language Learners
Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading activities are specifically designed to be accessible to English language learners. In addition, each session includes an optional accommodation teachers can use to provide further support to English language learners without diluting the content for these students. Research results show that Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading helps English language learners make large gains in science content, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
Our Approach to Supporting English Language Learners
The Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading team has made an extensive review of research on effective and proven instruction for English language learners resulting in four main principles:
1. Provide Additional Scaffolds for Language
Activities involving hands-on and visual elements make abstract concepts more concrete, supporting students in acquiring academic language. In addition, explicitly teaching about difficult aspects of English, for example multiple meaning words, helps English language learners succeed.
2. Make Connections to Students’ Linguistic Resources
It is important to acknowledge English language learners' experiences and native languages. Making connections to students’ experience can be accomplished, for example, by having students use their native languages during some science activities.
3. Provide Additional Opportunities for Practice
Additional practice with key science concepts helps English language learners understand ideas and participate more fully in activities. Through additional practice, students develop their vocabulary and language proficiency.
4. Support the Development of Strategic Behavior
English language learners can benefit from instruction that teaches them to monitor their own comprehension and language use. This helps students develop strategies they can employ independently when confronted with challenges. Teaching students to pose questions before and during reading is one example of this principle.
Our hands-on science and literacy activities include repeated exposure to vocabulary and concepts, opportunities for student-to-student talk and language rehearsal, explicit connections between science language and everyday language, summarizing of key ideas, opportunities for sense-making and reflection, visual references and graphic organizers, and other strategies that help make curriculum accessible.
Optional accommodations include opportunities for additional practice, vocabulary scaffolds, ways to support writing, tips for adjusting teacher speech and helping English language learners engage fully in group work, ways for helping English language learners make use of their native languages, and more.
Strategy Guides Support English Language Learners
These Strategy Guides highlight some instructional strategies from Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading that support English language learners. Each Strategy Guide provides a description of one of these strategies, an overview of how to teach the strategy with many science texts, and a specific plan for teaching the strategy with a Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading book.