ELL Services in Illinois

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Like other states, Illinois provides specific programs aimed at helping English language learners (ELLs) transition into the English-speaking classroom. Read on to learn about these services and how the state hopes to prepare ELL students for success in and outside of the classroom.

Purpose of Illinois' ELL Programs

To help the large number of ELL students entering the K-12 school system transition into an English speaking environment, Illinois has developed specific programs to ensure students will be able to grasp educational content while also becoming fully adept in all language domains, such as reading, writing, comprehension, listening, and speaking. Below are the 2 main types of programs offered to ELL students by law in addition to some other services and programs.

Transitional Bilingual Education

When there are 20 or more students who share a common native language that isn't English, Illinois mandates that they receive specialized instruction through a transitional bilingual education (TBE) program. These programs provide instruction in both English and students' native language in order to help them learn the core academic subjects required of all students. TBE students also receive ESL instruction and learn about the culture of the U.S. as well as their native country.

Some of the additional services available to the families of these students include family reading programs, native language translators, parent workshops concerning child development, and more.

TBE instructors must have the certification that prepares them for bilingual and ESL instruction. Teachers must also be highly proficient in the students' native language.

Transitional Program of Instruction

When there are less than 20 ELL students sharing a common native language, the transitional program of instruction is available. The objective remains virtually the same as the TBE program, but the type of instruction offered is determined at the local level and is based on students' individual needs. In addition to receiving ESL instruction, students can work with special aides and tutors in the classroom setting. Language arts instruction in students' native language might also be offered to help with the transition process.

Other Types of Instructional Programs

The 2 main programs offered for ELLs come with a lot of assistance and services to help the students both individually and in a group setting, but these are just some of the options available. Additional instructional programs and delivery methods that might be used to develop students' English language proficiency include:

  • Dual language/Two-way immersion: This program groups English-speaking students with ELL students who speak the same native language. These students receive language instruction designed to make them proficient in both languages.
  • Sheltered English: This method places ELLs from a variety of language backgrounds in the same classroom. Here, they receive content area instruction in English that has been adapted to meet their skill levels.
  • Newcomer Center: This is a short-term program available to recent immigrants. Students receive ESL and content area instruction designed to address any gaps in learning and help smooth the transition to the public school classroom.
  • Developmental Bilingual: Available to students in early grades, this program helps students develop literacy in their native language while also offering education in English. The goal is to ensure students are bilingual at an early age. Resources for ELL Students

Supplement your student's English language development with some of's resources specifically tailored for ELL students. Courses such as Grammar Resources for ELL Students can help break down English structure and grammatical principles in clear, self-paced lessons. Similarly, you can use this Resources for Teaching English Language Learners course to explore instructional techniques and classroom resources designed to help students build their English language skills. Both of these resources are equipped with video lessons, quizzes, and written outlines to help them achieve their goals! These resources are accessible on all of your mobile devices, too.

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