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Unlocking Multilingual Learners’ Potential

Unlocking Multilingual Learners’ Potential
Strategies for Making Content Accessible

2nd Edition

January 2024 | 344 pages | Corwin

Bring classroom content to life for multilingual learners

In this eagerly anticipated revision of their bestselling book, authors Diane Staehr Fenner, Sydney Snyder, and Meghan Gregoire-Smith share dynamic, research-backed strategies that every educator of multilingual learners (MLs) can add to their repertoire. Including more of what educators loved from the first edition—authentic classroom examples, a wide variety of research-based instructional strategies, and practical tools to implement across grade levels and content areas—this is the ultimate practical guide to unlocking the potential of MLs in K-12 classrooms.

With fresh graphics and eye-catching colors, this thoroughly revised edition also includes:

  • Considerations for newcomers and students with interrupted or no formal education (SLIFE)
  • An added chapter on building scaffolded instruction and peer learning opportunities into MLs’ academic reading and writing activities
  • Additional opportunities for reflection and application
  • A new unit planning template aligned with research-based instructional practices, including a completed example unit

Situated within five core beliefs that frame the must-haves for MLs’ equitable and excellent education, Unlocking Multilingual Learners' Potential is a guide to research-based practices and a toolbox of strategies every educator can implement to make content accessible and increase language proficiency among MLs.

Praise Pages
Website Table of Contents
Foreword by Emily Francis
About the Authors
Chapter 1: Why You Need This Book to Support MLs
Chapter 2: Using a Culturally Responsive Framework to Leverage the Strengths & Meet the Needs of MLs
Chapter 3: Scaffolding Instruction for MLs
Chapter 4: Peer Learning: Fostering MLs’ Oral Language Development and Content Understanding
Chapter 5: Teaching Academic Language to MLs at the Word/Phrase Level
Chapter 6: Teaching Academic Language to MLs at the Sentence and Discourse Level
Chapter 7: Activating and Teaching MLs Background Knowledge
Chapter 8: Engaging MLs in Reading and Writing in the Content Areas
Chapter 9: Formative Assessment for MLs
Appendix A: Unlocking MLs’ Potential Unit Planning Template
Appendix B: Unlocking MLs’ Potential Unit Planning Template Completed Example
Appendix C: Classroom Checklist to Foster a Language Learning Environment for MLs
Appendix D: Culturally Responsive School Checklist and Goal Setting
Appendix E: Scaffolding for MLs Self-Assessment
Appendix F: Checklist for Supporting MLs’ Academic Language Development in Speaking and Writing

"Every K-12 teacher needs to be effective with multilingual learners. This practical, asset-oriented book that helps teachers put theory into action to unlock MLs’ potential!"

Tonya Ward Singer, Author & Founder
Courageous Literacy

"Collecting, analyzing and using various data points are key to supporting positive outcomes that center on the unique needs of multilingual students. Staehr Fenner, Snyder and Gregoire-Smith provide data ready resources that can be easily embedded across content areas and into instructional practices. The strategies highlighted in this edition help teachers afford more opportunities for students, especially newcomers and SLIFE, to practice, collect, reflect and analyze their own learning experiences."

Ayanna Cooper, Author/Educator
ACooper Consulting

"This second edition of Unlocking Multilingual Learners’ Potential: Strategies for Making Content Accessible should be in the hands of new and veteran educators. As its predecessor, the authors draw from current research and practice and brilliantly present a user-friendly guide for supporting students’ success. Look no further if you are seeking a professional book to support our ever-changing multilingual learners to work, collaborate, and flourish together."

Debbie Zacarian, Founder and Author
Debbie Zacarian, Ed.D. and Associates

"There is no book I recommend to teachers more often. This comprehensive, practical guide is everything a teacher needs to understand and apply strategies that will truly improve outcomes for students learning English. In this new edition, Staehr Fenner, Snyder, and Gregoire-Smith are responsive to the most salient issues today in the field of ESOL, as schools across the US strive to provide high-quality education to growing numbers of SLIFE and to ensure effective, research-based literacy instructional practices for all multilingual learners. Unlocking Multilingual Learners’ Potential remains an indispensable part of any district’s professional learning plan."

April Perkins, Director of Multilingual Programs
South Portland School Department

"As part of the Title III English Learner Support Grant through the Ohio Department of Education, Painesville City Local Schools worked through the Unlocking text with their EL Department. Professional learning sessions were led by SupportEd and covered vocabulary development, scaffolding, academic and oral language development, building background knowledge and formative assessments. The content in Unlocking provided easy to understand examples, scenarios, and suggestions. In addition the text encouraged staff discussion and collaboration on implementation ideas. The material not only aligned to the goals of the grant, but the SupportEd team also went above and beyond to align their materials and instruction with other district initiatives for general instructional frameworks. Of all of the professional development series I have been a part of in my twenty years in education, SupportEd was by far the most well-organized, informative series. Their team was overly accommodating of the day to day struggle of districts and flexible in their planning and delivery to ensure the district was provided with the support and learning opportunities they needed as well as requested. I would highly recommend their team and their materials to any district or school looking to improve their EL instructional knowledge and skill sets."

Shannon Ranta, Coordinator of Curriculum and Data Specialist
ESC of the Western Reserve
Key features
(1) Presents an array of research-based strategies that content teachers can apply to their lessons to help ELLs successfully interact with grade level content.
(2) Strategies focus on scaffolding academic content to help ELs meet today's more rigorous content standards.
(3) Scaffolding techniques can be used across multiple content areas and grade levels.
(4) State-of-the-art coverage includes learning to analyze academic language demands in texts, close reading and ELs, and promoting oral language development.
(5) Throughout the book, the need to foster collaboration between content teachers and other educational professionals is underscored.

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