Unlocking English Learners' Potential
Strategies for Making Content Accessible
- Diane Staehr Fenner - SupportEd
- Sydney Snyder - SupportEd
Foreword by Lydia Breiseth
Bilingual Methods | ESL Methods
A once-in-a-generation text for assisting a new generation of students
Content teachers and ESOL teachers, take special note: if you’re looking for a single resource to help your English learners meet the same challenging content standards as their English-proficient peers, your search is complete. Just dip into this toolbox of strategies, examples, templates, and activities from EL authorities Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder. The best part? Unlocking English Learners’ Potential supports teachers across all levels of experience.
The question is not if English learners can succeed in today’s more rigorous classrooms, but how. Unlocking English Learners’ Potential is all about the how:
- How to scaffold ELs’ instruction across content and grade levels
- How to promote ELs’ oral language development and academic language
- How to help ELs analyze text through close reading and text-dependent questions
- How to build ELs’ background knowledge
- How to design and use formative assessment with ELs
Along the way, you’ll build the collaboration, advocacy, and leadership skills that we all need if we’re to fully support our English learners. After all, any one of us with at least one student acquiring English is now a teacher of ELs.
—Douglas Fisher, Coauthor of Visible Learning for Literacy
"Much may be debated about what English learners need in order to be successful in school, but while that debate continues, teachers need access to sensible and accessible assistance to teach language and content to English learners right now. This new book by Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder is the book to fill that need. In clear prose, accompanied by lively classroom examples and a series of engaging application activities, the authors target the topics of culturally responsive teaching, scaffolded instruction for oral language and reading, understanding academic language, and how to formatively assess student development in these areas. There is something here for both novice teachers and their more seasoned colleagues as Staehr Fenner and Snyder skillfully bring together the necessary ingredients to help teachers advance the language and content learning of their English learners."
"Staehr Fenner and Snyder have written a much needed and illuminating text in the field of EL education that challenges educators to re-think language pedagogy in new ways that never dichotomize theory and practice. Not only do the authors provide numerous, sound and exciting hands-on instructional recommendations but they impressively model for educators what it means to link theory to practice by anchoring their applications to a comprehensive equity and cultural wealth framework."
"There is so much to love about Unlocking English Learners’ Potential. Diane and Sydney have created a truly readable text packed with practical suggestions for all educators who teach ELs! ESOL educators will find the focus on advocacy and leadership provides them with new ideas to take their practice to the next level. Content educators will appreciate the many easy-to-incorporate strategies for developing oral language and reading within their own academic content classes. And finally, the emphasis on teacher collaboration is vital to get everyone on board with an agenda that stresses equity and excellence for our culturally and linguistically diverse learners. This text will undoubtedly be a hit with school PLCs and teacher education programs."
"With so many resources available today and so little time to review them all, it becomes harder and harder for educators to know what to read and when to read it. What Diane and Sydney offer to educators of English Learners with this book is the unique opportunity to find in one resource a synthesis of the current research, examples of its impact in the classroom through authentic classroom vignettes, and a wealth of tools to get started in their own classroom. Diane and Sydney have successfully combined their own expertise with that of colleagues and educators to bring to the field a valuable tool for professional growth and collaboration. Thank you!"
"Continuing their advocacy for English learners to obtain an equitable education, Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder offer a remarkable framework to guide teachers to better understand the complex nature of teaching diverse students. This book not only examines why a supportive school environment matters but also offers detailed, research-informed instructional strategies applicable to every class. It is must read for all teachers of English learners!"
"Unlocking English Learners' Potential: Strategies for Making Content Accessible offers a treasure trove of practical resources and ideas for all teachers - and not just those with ELLs in their classrooms."
"Staehr Fenner and Snyder masterfully unravel the intricacies of teaching and supporting English learners (ELs). Seen through a series of guiding principles within an equitable educational framework, each chapter reveals an important theme in enacting effective instructional strategies that advance EL learning. Their focus on teacher collaboration in furthering students’ language development and academic achievement provides insight into implementing their carefully delineated steps. With its many application activities, this book offers both content and language teachers a myriad of ideas for working with ELs integral to their classroom practices."
"Staehr Fenner and Snyder have created a practitioner-friendly guide for educators of ELs to help create welcoming school and classroom environments, build cultural responsiveness, and increase educators' toolboxes for serving ELs. The authors speak with experienced teacher voices and have a gift for making the complex simple through explicit explanation, classroom examples, and use of tools for instruction and assessment. This is a must-read for both pre-service educators of ELs who are seeking authentic professional learning to meet the needs of their ELs."
"Unlocking English Learners' Potential: Strategies for Making Content Accessible not only offers a fresh perspective on approaching the education of English learners, but also provides readers with practical and comprehensive guidance on how to ensure success for ELs. I am honored to endorse this new book from leading experts Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder, who continue to demonstrate uncompromising dedication to and advocacy for ELs, while also offering ready-to-implement strategies and examples of successful practices."
"In the current ESSA era, all teachers are charged with teaching both the language and content featured in standards-based instruction and assessment. This timely work, grounded in extensive EL vignettes and readily implementable examples of useful pedagogy, shines a welcome light on this topic, particularly for teachers of language, and yet who recognize the urgency to provide ELs access to the Core curriculum. This comprehensive educator tool represents a significant contribution to the field and will be a well-used desk reference by K-12 teachers."
Sample Materials & Chapters
How to build ELs’ background knowledge
How to design and use formative assessment with ELs
How to help ELs analyze text through close reading and text-dependent questions
How to promote ELs’ oral language development and academic language
How to scaffold ELs’ instruction across content and grade levels
Chapter 2: Using a Culturally Responsive Framework to Meet the Needs of ELs