What are some of the ways we engage English-speaking students to encourage language development?


  • speech patterns
  • pronunciation
  • pairing students with language partners/buddy
  • physically demonstrating terms
  • Preposition obstacle course, using students' bodies to demonstrate: over/under/across
  • narrating/explaining/modeling responses/questions/requests
  • wordless books
  • using sign language
  • body language: facial cues/signing
  • picture cues/cards

Consistent Scheduling

  • predictable/consistent yet flexible
  • talking about what's happening (expectations) during transitions


  • directions
  • using ASL to support language learning
  • signs
  • pairing signs and words
  • common words that are used in routines (i.e. "academic choice")
  • gesturing or pointing to objects as word is said
  • "repeat after me" songs and vocabulary
  • Verbal labelling: "You're holding a spoon. I see your spoon is blue."
  • paraphrase what they are saying using other language
  • speaking slowly, repeating beginning sounds
  • listening lotto for beginning sounds
  • listen and watch to figure out what they are saying, then repeat the words
  • signing in in the morning
  • enhancing elaborate vocabulary by Words of the Day based on our theme: spoken, written i journal, sign language, read in books and used in context
  • short phrases throughout the day
  • songo
  • read books with refrains, simple rhythms
  • songs and finger plays
  • labeling play things in the room with pictures
  • sing and listen to songs and repeat!
  • playing with language (alliteration, rhyme, etc.)
  • "I try to find something that they may be wearing for example: Thomas the Train on their shirt and comment on that. Usually the child will tell me something more about that topic."
  • Link to interests of the child
  • Demonstrations
  • Point out items and label them


  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Encourage children to play with each other and support/facilitate conversation
  • Mystery box to introduce adjectives
  • Engage children with simple conversation and direct them toward interests
  • READ!
  • Read lots and lots of books
  • Using key phrases in child's home language or lexicon to initiate
  • puppets/storytelling
  • play out scenarios
  • share experiences and commonalities
  • engage children to share language at all times
  • give children the words needed
  • Narration: explaining what is going on throughout interaction
  • Write their "stories" about pictures they have drawn.
  • Intentionally engage around food: naming colors, sizes, etc.
  • telling/retelling stories. When children request a story, ask them to remind me which story they are talking of.
  • guessing games
  • gross motor activities
  • lots of conversation
  • repeat back what they say, correctly pronounced
  • repeat everything
  • sing, dance, fingerplays
  • storytelling with and without props
  • songs
  • creating, writing, drawing stories together

Cultural representation

  • books in other languages
  • Books with children who look like those represented in the class


  • listening center (books on tape)
  • books on CD
  • stories
  • speak at eye level


  • print rich environment
  • literacy, reading writing/drawing reflection

Exposure to language

  • word wall: children practice writing in journals then pick words to carefully add to our wall.
  • sing songs and read picture books
  • independent exploration of written words
  • label classroom with photos and words
  • labels everywhere
  • writing/book center
  • songs, reading, games
  • reading books
  • anything that encourages discussion
  • lots of conversation throughout the day, especially at the lunch and snack tables