Common core is here. For English language learners (ELLs) to survive and thrive in this new learning environment, they must have more developed literacy skills to tackle far more challenging academic demands than in the past. Dictionaries should never be the first resources for any students and especially ELLs. For the English only students, they are often confused by the different definitions for any given word. The waters get muddier with ELLs since definitions for new words are defined in a language that they are not that familiar with for the most part.
So how can teachers provide those crucial supports for ELLs so that they may experience success in completing academic tasks in the classroom? Delivering such supports is not difficult. It can be built into any instruction with just a few adjustments. Further, these same adjustments will also support the English only students because often times what is good for ELLs is also good for EOs.
Here is one site with a few approaches to building academic vocabulary. It is one I wrote for the Examiner a year ago. Within it, there are two more websites which address key academic words students should learn along with additional strategies to teach vocabulary. Another link, though geared to science, the strategies would work in any classroom for any content area.
Find approaches which work for you and your students. Make activities engaging, informative, and fun. Then watch their academic vocabulary base grow:)
ELL TEACHER PROS