A Professional Development Resource

Category: Language

Dual Language Learners: Strategies for Successful Opportunities in ECE

Format: Workshop/Training

Description: A free 2-hour learning module with video from Pennsylvania State University’s Better Kid Care that touches on the cognitive, social-emotional, and language development of multiple language learners. Includes content, videos, and assignments. The module helps professionals  self-reflect while learning instructional strategies to use in the classroom. Registration is required.

Link: https://extension.psu.edu/programs/betterkidcare/lessons/dll

Dispelling the Myth of “English Only”: Understanding the Importance of the First Language in Second Language Learning

Format: Article

Description: A brief by Elsa Billings and Aída Walqui that discusses the importance of a English Language Learners (ELL) first language, presents supporting background research on cognitive, social-emotional, and academic benefits, and offers strategies to help teachers support ELLs in instruction.

Link: https://www.wested.org/resources/dispelling-the-myth-of-english-only/

Citation: Billings, E. & Walqui, A. (2017) Dispelling the Myth of “English Only”: Understanding the Importance of the First Language in Second Language Learning. New York State Education Department. Retrieved from https://www.wested.org/resources/dispelling-the-myth-of-english-only/

Talking Points

Format: This image displays text bubbles representingoutgoing and incoming text messages and the organization name, Talking Points.Website, Tool


Talking Points is an app designed to confront the language barrier that often challenges  parental engagement with a tool that translates communications into the parent’s native language. The site uses a custom translation engine for two way translation between teachers and parents. Up to 28 languages are available with more being added over time; the list of languages are available on the site.

The tool’s creators understand the positive impact parental engagement has on child development and seek to support improving and easing engagement from parents that may have difficulty speaking English or communicating with teacher and schools. The app uses SMS as a way to make it more accessible to parents and to be aware of diverse socioeconomic status. Teachers and schools will need to be aware that while the app itself is free it also depends on parent’s phone and texting plans and that there could be a possible fee for parents if the SMS is not covered.

Registration is required. Free for individual teachers. School wide integration is available for a fee.

Link: http://talkingpts.org

Communicating Cross-Culturally: What Teachers Should Know

Format: Article

Description: This article looks at the need for teachers to be culturally responsive and competent as schools and classrooms become increasingly linguistically and culturally diverse.  It highlights five points of cultural difference with which all educators should be aware when interacting with students of diverse backgrounds.

Link: http://iteslj.org/Articles/Pratt-Johnson-CrossCultural.html

Citation:  Pratt-Johnson, Yvonne. “Communicating Cross-Culturally: What Teachers Should Know,” The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. XII, No. 2, February 2006

Asian American Librarians and Library Services Activism, Collaborations, and Strategies

Format: Book

Description: In this comprehensive book, library professionals and scholars share best practices and strategies that convey the critical need for diversity in the LIS field, library programming, and resources to better reflect the rich and varied experiences and information needs of Asian Americans in the US and beyond.

Link: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442274914/Asian-American-Librarians-and-Library-Services-Activism-Collaborations-and-Strategies#

Citation:  Clarke, J. H., Pun, R., & Tong, M. (2017).  Asian American librarians and library services activism, collaborations, and strategies. Rowman & Littlefield.

Assisting English Language Learners in Your Library

Format: Tip Sheet

Description: This tip sheet, created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, provides concrete tips to help library staff provide services to English language learners. While focused on public libraries, the tips are applicable to school libraries too.

Link: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/PDFs/Assisting_ELLs.pdf


The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children

Format: Report

Description:  This paper explores the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society.

Link: http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/ALSCwhitepaper_importance%20of%20diversity_with%20graphics_FINAL.pdf

Citation: Naidoo, J. (2014). The importance of diversity in library programs and material collections for children. Association for Library Service to Children.


Helping ELLs Excel

Format: Journal Issue

Description: This issue of Educational Leadership features 14 articles about working with English Language Learners. Topics include getting to know their families, amplifying their voices, and developing effective library programs, plus more.  Members of ASCD can access the issue with their membership. You can check out your local academic library to see if they subscribe or you can purchase the issue for $8.95.

Link: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb16/vol73/num05/toc.aspx

Citation: Various authors (2016). Educational Leadership 73(5). 

Getting to Know Your ELLs: Six Steps for Success

Format: Article

Description: This article written by Colorín Colorado Manager Lydia Breiseth provides ideas for getting to know your English language learners. The article includes guidance on what information will be helpful to gather as well as ideas on how to find what you need, who will be able to help, and recommended resources.

Link: http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/getting-know-your-ells-six-steps-success


The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom

Format: Book

Description: Lisa Delpit and Joanne Kilgour Dowdy have compiled essays from a diverse group of scholars who “explore the links between language and identity, between language and political hierarchy, and between language and cultural conflict” (p. xiv). The book is divided into three sections and includes personal essays, linguistic analysis, case study, and policy analysis, many of which speak to the ongoing debates surrounding Ebonics and the education of African American students. 

Link: https://thenewpress.com/books/skin-that-we-speak

Citation:  Delpit, Lisa and Joanne Kilgour. (eds.) (2008). “The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom,” New York: The New  Press.

Supporting Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Learners in English Education

Format: Website

Description: This document from the National Council of Teachers of English lays out the organization’s beliefs and plans for action regarding how teachers can best support linguistically and culturally diverse students in the classroom. While written specifically for English teachers, the core beliefs apply equally well to school and public library contexts.

Link: http://www.ncte.org/cee/positions/diverselearnersinee

Many Languages, Many Cultures

Format: A picture depicting diverse children with the title: Many Languages, Many CulturesArticle

Description: This article by Hedy Chang contains useful tips for all educators on how to approach and support both children and parents on language and cultural diversity.

Link: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/many-languages-many-cultures/

Citation: Chang, H. (n.d.). Many Languages, Many Cultures. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/many-languages-many-cultures/

Three Ways to Speak English

Format: TEDTalk, Video

Description: A spoken word celebration of the many different ways that the speaker approaches the English language, in the classroom, with friends, and with family. This 4 minute video by Jamila Lyiscott seeks to make listeners question the idea of “broken English”. This resource is important linguistically and as a reminder that there are a diversity of ways to speak any language.

Link: https://www.ted.com/talks/jamila_lyiscott_3_ways_to_speak_english