Tips for Parents of English Language Learners

Instructor: Amanda Wiesner-Groff

Amanda has created and taught English/ESL curricula worldwide, has an M.Ed, and is the current ESOL Coordinator for the Saint Louis Public School District.

English language learning in the classroom can be difficult, but this lesson will give tips so parents can help continue that learning at home. Read on, for ways to develop different English language skills, without putting in extra hours in the classroom.

The Value of Parental Support

Learning English as a second language (ESL) in the classroom can be very challenging and overwhelming. Educational content can quickly become confusing when students do not understand the key vocabulary required for concept comprehension. For this reason, extra practice at home is a must. Parental support is extremely valuable as students work on developing his or her second language literacy skills.

Even if parents only speak a little English, the ideas in this lesson should be easy to use as they help students work on English language skills at home. Let's get started.

Tips for Parents of ELLs

The following tips will come in handy as parents of ELLs work to support their children's learning at home. It does not matter how much, or how little, the parents are able to speak English, just as long as they commit to helping their ELL develop his or her English language skills.

Vocabulary Journal

Have ELLs create and maintain a vocabulary journal at home to keep track of new words that are introduced in the classroom. You can help with vocabulary acquisition by having your child:

  • Review the words by practicing both the spelling and definition.
  • Practice writing sentences or stories with vocabulary words as they are added.
  • Use the words to play literacy games, such as hangman or charades.
  • Draw pictures to go along with the vocabulary words for picture/word association.

Tell Stories

Practice vocabulary, grammar, speaking, and writing skills by telling stories. Write down a mixture of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns, and then have your ELL create silly stories.

  • Practice speaking and listening skills by creating and telling stories to one another orally.
  • Practice reading and writing skills by creating stories in writing for one another to read.
  • Practice problem-solving skills by posing questions about the stories or creating conflicts for your ELL to solve.

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