Although teachers may know what instructional strategies to use with ELL students, knowing what resources can assist you in the classroom is another matter. Successful teachers of ELL students incorporate specific resources into their classrooms and lessons that can assist their ELL students in making meaning and more fully understanding content and skills. The following list is an example of some of the resources that have been found to be useful in ELL classrooms. The ELL Consortium strives to provide teachers and educators with access to available resources, but does not sponsor or endorse any specific products or vendors.

Audiovisual Equipment: Allowing students to read, learn new information or practice skills with the use of audio or visual equipment (computers, tape and CD players, televisions, etc.) can help students gain skills and confidence working independently and appeals to students with visual and aural learning modalities.

Books on Tape: Books that have accompanying tapes or CDs can help provide support as students learn to read independently. They can also be a part of lending libraries, so that students can take books home. Having a tape or CD that models fluent and accurate reading can help ensure that students are reading at home. If you can’t find books on tape for your students, you can create them yourself – and students might be more interested in using them if they know you (or one of your friends or family members) recorded the tape.

Labels: Label everything (or as much as you can) in your classroom. Labels can include the name of the object and a smaller picture so students understand what exactly the label refers to.

Leapfrog Products: These reading tools can help students practice their reading skills independently, but with some assistance. Students can gain reading confidence by working independently, but the programs build in supports to let students seek assistance as they need it. Because the books and skill cards have audio support, students can hear how words are pronounced as they work on reading the words themselves.

Leveled Libraries: Make sure that your classroom library covers a wide range of topics, genres, and reading levels. Doing so ensures that all of the students in your class will be able to find books that are of interest and appropriate for them - no matter what their reading level. Scholastic provides the Book Wizard website which can help teachers find the level of a book they have and look up other books on a similar or different level: http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/homePage.do.

Manipulatives: Manipulatives can be any number of things – they can simply be any collection of objects (blocks, buttons, marbles, sticks, counters, etc.) or can be thematically related to your lessons. They can assist ELL students by giving them things to count or use as markers in math, they can help students visualize processes, or help students create diagrams, graphs, and charts.

NYSESLAT Test Preparation Books: Attanasio and Associates provides Getting Ready for the NYSESLAT and Beyond.
These books provide sample test questions for grades K-12 and help students become familiar with NYSESLAT and ELA test features using standards-based instruction and built-in assessment activities.

Picture Dictionaries and Thesauruses: Available for all age groups, picture dictionaries and thesauruses are a great way to introduce students to new vocabulary. Some are organized alphabetically like a regular dictionary or thesaurus, while others organize words by different themes. American Heritage and Scholastic have picture dictionaries for younger students, and Oxford Dictionaries has picture dictionaries that might be better suited to older students.

Realia: Realia are real life objects that help students develop context, vocabulary, and background for lessons by being able to see and touch real objects. For example, a lesson on New York State pilgrims could be enhanced by bringing in food, clothing, or tools from the time period.

Rosetta Stone: This language software acts like an immersion program for learning new languages. Users can progress through the program at their own speed. It could be an ideal tool as an enrichment or afterschool program component. http://www.rosettastone.com/

Translation Wall: Although this idea works better when you have a dominant language group (or lots of space) in your classroom, the translation wall helps students learn new words in English by having support in their home language. You can even use one color for all the English words and a different color for student’s home language to visually reinforce the translated words.

Vocabulary Wall/Growing Picture Dictionary: When you have high-frequency words that your students are using for your current theme or unit, put the word and a picture of the word up on the vocabulary wall. At the end of the week/unit/theme, you can take the words and pictures down and compile them into one growing picture dictionary for the class.

Whiteboards: Mini whiteboards can be used for any age group and can help students practice writing, get down ideas, draw visuals or graphic organizers, the possibilities are endless. Because students can easily write and erase, students can practice skills without worrying about making errors.