Effectively educating children who are learning English as their second language is a national challenge with consequences both for individuals and for American society. Despite their potential, many young English learners are struggling to meet the requirements for academic success, a difficulty that jeopardizes their prospects for success in postsecondary education and the workforce.
This practitioner toolkit, designed for practitioners who work with children in grade 5 and younger, is based on a report from the National Academies, Engineering, and Medicine, Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures (2017). This report examines what research evidence reveals about learning English from early childhood through high school, identifies effective practices for educators to use, and recommends steps policy makers can take to support high quality educational outcomes for children and youth who are learning English. The report addresses children who are Dual language learners or DLLs (children ages birth to 5 who are learning two languages at once and who are not in the K-12 school system) and English learners or ELs (children in the pre-K-12 education system whose primary language is not English and who are learning English as a second language).
DLLs and ELs are demographically diverse. They vary in their home language, language abilities, race and ethnicity, immigration circumstances, generational status in the United States, geographic distribution, academic achievement, parental characteristics and socioeconomic resources, disability status, and other characteristics. The majority of children in the U.S. English-learner population are born in the United States and are birthright citizens.