ELL and Content-Based Instruction


Curriculum Pathways supports English Language Learner (ELL) instruction, which we consider to be one of today’s most important educational challenges. Imagine walking into a classroom where you are not only the new kid but the new kid who can’t understand what others are saying. Imagine being the teacher trying to help a number of these students across a range of languages.

Our resources offer support to those students and teachers. We provide English Language Learners (ELL) with the resources to help them with discipline-specific content. These resources enable students to learn by exploring multiple examples, confronting real-life problems and practical issues, and making connections between prior and new knowledge.

In all disciplines, our resources can be adapted to enhance language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—and to support TESOL's Five Levels of Language Proficiency:

  1. Starting or Learning (single words, simple phrases, meaningful visuals)
  2. Emerging (short sentences and memorized phrases)
  3. Developing (repetition, building on background knowledge)
  4. Expanding (adequate language skills, fluency)
  5. Bridging (fluent and spontaneous communication)

ELL students bring a range of learning preferences and levels to the classroom. To address these differences, teachers can easily tailor a lesson to individual student needs. The flexibility of our resources enables differentiated instruction and supports a variety of assessment methods. Across all resources we have implemented EEL-friendly practices such as video closed-captioning and roll-over tool tips for difficult vocabulary.

Several Curriculum Pathways resource provide direct support for ELL teachers and learners:


With Reading Records, students read and record passages, answer related quiz questions, and restate what they've read in their own words.

Reading Records provides a time-efficient way for teachers to conduct running records of reading with K-5 students. Students read and record a passage, answer related quiz questions, and retell what they've read in their own words. The tool's library contains numerous reading passages (various Lexile® levels, both fiction and nonfiction) with several passages available in both English and Spanish. Teachers can also generate passages themselves. Lastly, the tool provides a recording of the student reading and an easy-to-use markup interface for evaluating assignments. This resource is available in the App Store, the Chrome web store, and as a web-based tool. Using your free Curriculum Pathways account, getting started is quick and easy.

The design of Reading Records is intentionally flexible to accommodate a variety of integrations including ESL and bilingual programs. Teachers may use the stories to create comprehensive and theme-based lessons for English-language learners and limited English proficient (LEP) students.

  • Visual cues and self-explanatory illustrations support and enhance the reading experience.
  • Students benefit from focused vocabulary development and comprehension strategies.
  • Spanish passages have Lexile measures to help match content to student needs.

Read Aloud is an impactful educational tool that teaches and guides early readers.

Read Aloud is available as an iPad app and offers several features for developing early and emergent literacy skills. With access to numerous books,
students will

  • See words highlighted and experience intonation, rhythm, and stress
  • Control the speaker's pace while learning to recognize words
  • Build confidence by reading silently, selecting only the words they want read aloud
  • Develop print knowledge, identify letters, recognize correct spelling, and sound out words phonetically

English language learners can take advantage of the visual cues; self-explanatory illustrations support and enhance the reading experience. The three modes of learning also support ESL.

  • Read to me provides a slower and more clearly pronounced delivery, which allows students to become familiar with sounds.
  • Help me read develops skills for encoding English into its written form.
  • Read by myself reinforces language skills and enhances the English sound-symbol system.

By integrating content-based instruction into the ELL classroom, teachers can teach academic subject matter and second-language skills concurrently.

For a more detailed list of resources to support ELL, check out the Strategies page: English Language Learners.


About Author

Mimi Stapleton

Product Manager

Mimi Stapleton is a Product Manger for Social Innovation and Brand at SAS Institute. She also worked as a curriculum development specialist with Curriculum Pathways creating standards-based content and facilitating online professional development. She is an ACTFL/CAEP program reviewer and EdCamper. You can connect with her on Twitter @MimiStapleton.

Leave A Reply

Back to Top