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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The Power of Possibility: Dreamers Who Changed the World

Why do we need dreamers? Dreamers have the power to change the world by envisioning new ways of doing things, coming up with innovative ideas, combating powerlessness with possibility, looking beyond established obstacles, and finding the means to bring aspirations to fruition. The picture book biographies featured here introduce nine individuals who have dreamed big, fought against impossible odds, and persevered to achieve magnificent things.

First Hijab-Wearing Barbie Based on Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad

Growing up in New Jersey, the Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad used to fashion tiny hijabs out of tissues to wrap around the heads of her Barbie dolls so they'd look more like her and her sisters.  Now, Muhammad is the face of the first hijab-wearing Barbie doll. It's a feat she described on Monday, when the doll was unveiled, as "amazing."

Salmon Watch en Español

At the end of her lesson on riparian areas, Patricia Rincon Diaz asked questions as she had delivered the lesson — in Spanish. Many students answered in Spanish, some in English, and Rincon Diaz smoothly switched between the languages as she responded to the students. Rincon Diaz, an Oregon State University doctoral student in fisheries science, was one of about six new volunteers recruited to teach science lessons in Spanish during Salmon Watch field trips put on this week for students at Corvallis School District’s dual immersion schools, Lincoln and Garfield elementary.

Massachusetts Lawmakers Approve Bilingual Education Measure

In a move to boost the academic performance of more than 90,000 Massachusetts students who lack fluency in English, the state Legislature Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a measure that would allow local schools to teach students in their native tongue. The House and Senate votes, which came within hours of each other, would effectively overturn a 15-year-old ballot measure that largely requires schools to teach students with language barriers only in English. Massachusetts is one of the few states nationwide with such a law. The bill now heads to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature, but it remains unclear if he will support the measure.

Hispanic Graduation Rates Improving in Yakima Schools

The percentage of Hispanic students in the Yakima County graduating high school and going on to college or trade schools continues to grow, but experts say more can be done to boost those numbers.

In Puerto Rico, the Hurricane Tore Their Lives Apart. In Florida, the Storm Brought Them Together

In the first day in her Orlando classroom, Karen Espino found a group of children to whom she could relate. Before arriving in Florida about a month ago, she had spent weeks in her ground-level apartment in San Juan without power or running water, and with a crippling uncertainty about the future. In her new classroom at Lake Nona Middle School, where she teaches English as a Second Language, she has met about a dozen students who were displaced by the storm. Just like her, they had left their homes behind, found their way to an unfamiliar school in Orlando, and begun new lives.

Sioux Falls Schools See Increase in English Language Learners

About 1 in 10 Sioux Falls public school students is not a native English speaker. The number of English language learners (ELLs) in the city’s public schools has significantly increased in the last few years, with more than 627 joining the district last year and a similar number expected in the 2017-18 school year, school board members learned Monday.

Young Immigrants Who Own Homes Prepare to Unload Investment If DACA Ends

"Should we sell the house, or walk away from the mortgage?" Those are questions that thousands of young immigrants are now asking themselves after they received permission to stay in the U.S. under an Obama-era program. For people like Cristian Mendoza, answers are not easy to come by. "Honestly, I don't know," says Mendoza, 30, in the living room of a home he bought for his parents in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. "Our last resort is try to sell it." Cristian, a dietitian, bought the three-bedroom home two years ago with his younger sister, Laura. They paid just under $400,000 and made a $20,000 down payment. Cristian had been saving up to buy a home since high school.

15 Spanish Language Nonfiction Series for Elementary Schoolers

In the United States today, one child out of every four under the age of 18 is of Latinx descent. While a large proportion of these children are proficient English speakers, there remain many who are not. Yet a lack of English proficiency is not a reason for children to be left behind academically. It is gratifying to see publishers stepping up to the plate and meeting the needs of these children. All the series reviewed below are for lower elementary grades and cover a variety of topics that complement or supplement classroom learning.