ELL News Headlines

Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

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'We Have to Go Forward': Puerto Rico's Students Head Back to School

Nearly a year after Hurricane Maria caused great physical damage and emotional turmoil across the island, the high school in Maunabo, some 90 minutes south of San Juan, has reopened for the new school year. Yet fundamental challenges remain to keeping students enrolled and their minds in a good place to learn.

World Class Librarian: Michelle Carton, SLJ's 2018 Champion of Civic Engagement

Over the past 20 years, Anchorage, AK, has grown to become one of the most diverse places in the United States, with the fishing and tourism industries attracting families from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, as well as the Native Alaskan population. At the city's Tudor Elementary School (TES) — among the 20 most diverse elementary schools in America with 30% of students who are ELLs — School Library Journal’s 2018 Champion of Civic Engagement, librarian Michelle Carton, is bringing a global education to the youngest students.

In Conversation: Yuyi Morales and Neal Porter

Author-illustrator Yuyi Morales and editor Neal Porter have worked together on six books, but Morales’s newest, Dreamers, is her most personal work to date. It recounts, in poetic form, the story of her emigration in 1994 from Mexico to the United States, with her two-month-old son. Scheduled for publication on September 4, the book has received considerable advance acclaim. Morales, who lived for many years in the Bay Area, now resides in her hometown of Xalapa, Mexico. Publishers Weekly asked Morales and Porter to discuss their newest collaboration.

History Through Story: Cherokee Storyteller Seeks to Preserve Historical Memory with Filming Project

Kathi Littlejohn can get lost in the Cherokee stories of her heritage. At home in Western North Carolina, Littlejohn and her fellow tribal members in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are surrounded not only by stories but by the mountains, rivers and seasons that inspired them centuries ago. Too often, though, Cherokee people drive by these places of cultural importance without ever knowing what happened there. That’s a problem Littlejohn is hoping to fix through her latest project, a series of short videos "Cherokee History & Stories: What Happened Here."

For Some Students, Graduation Comes in August

Three dozen Schenectady High School students joined the ranks of the Class of 2018 Thursday morning. After they walked the stage of the high school auditorium in their red and blue gowns, earning the cheers and smiles of family and friends present for the annual summer commencement ceremony, the new graduates described the hurdles they overcame on their way to a diploma. Nawaf Hassan and his family moved to Schenectady from Yemen four years ago; when he arrived as a new student, he spoke hardly any English, he said.

Schools Grapple with Obligations to Migrants in Shelters

When San Benito, Texas, school leaders learned of an influx of children to a migrant shelter in their small town near the U.S.-Mexico border, they felt obliged to help. While a government contractor bears responsibility for educating children at the highly guarded center, local officials say they stepped up partly because of a law that calls on school systems to educate any child, anywhere within their district.

Bay Bridge Builder and Librarian: Cassy Lee, SLJ's 2018 Champion of Student Voice

 "When you challenge them, they step up," says Cassy Lee, SLJ’s 2018 Champion of Student Voice. Lee is the middle school learning center coordinator at the Chinese American International School (CAIS) in San Francisco, the oldest Chinese-English dual language school in the United States. In 2015, CAIS opened a new middle school campus that is separate from the elementary school. Lee came on as the facility’s first dedicated librarian for the 125 sixth through eighth graders who are nearly equally fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese.

Study: Shared Book Reading Boosts English-Learners' Language Skills

A practice known as "shared book reading" — engaging children by pointing to pictures, discussing word meanings, and the sequence of events in a book during one-on-one or small-group settings — has widely been presumed to boost language growth for English-learners. Now, a new analysis from researchers at Florida State University of more than 50 reading studies has determined that to be true.

At 87, Her Mission to Help Immigrants Hasn't Slowed Down

Florence Phillips was born in New York to Jewish parents who fled Europe before the Holocaust. Growing up, she experienced first-hand the burden of being a child of immigrants who didn't speak English. Helping her parents interact with the outside world fell on her shoulders. For most of her life, Phillips worked various desk jobs. Then, in her late-50s, she enlisted in the Peace Corps. After returning to the US in 1999, at age 69, Phillips realized there were countless people in her own backyard in need of her support.