Focus on English Language Learners
A growing number of children come to this country every day without the necessary language skills to be successful in school. These English Language Learners (ELL) struggle to develop the abilities to read, write, speak and understand English while also attempting to participate fully in the standard curriculum.
Teachers around the country have found that visual learning software Kidspiration® and Inspiration® are highly effective tools for meeting the specific needs of English Language Learners. With Kidspiration for grades K-5 and Inspiration for grades 6 to adult, students build graphic organizers to reinforce reading, vocabulary and writing skills. ELL students build conceptual understanding of math concepts using Kidspiration 3's five visual math tools. By visually representing information and relationships, ELL students convey their understanding of concepts even before they have mastered the vocabulary for communicating ideas in English.
Kidspiration and Inspiration help ELL students with:
ELL students face a variety of fundamental challenges in learning English, including difficulties with vocabulary and sentence structure. Kidspiration and Inspiration help transition these students from what they already know to what they need to know by offering a multi-sensory approach, combining the use of pictures, symbols, models, numbers, and written and spoken words. The symbols in both Kidspiration and Inspiration include word labels. By associating familiar images with new words, English Language Learners reinforce critical vocabulary skills.
Students can also use Kidspiration and Inspiration to visually diagram the components of sentences and paragraphs. This helps them learn to structure meaning in their new language and become familiar with how English words work together.
With the Word Guide, the combination dictionary and thesaurus in Kidspiration and Inspiration, students can look up words and their definitions, synonyms, antonyms and parts of speech to develop their vocabulary. They’ll also find the words used in sample sentences, which supports their reading comprehension, and they can listen to the recorded speech to learn correct pronunciation. Kidspiration's Word Guide also pairs 1,400 words with images to enhance word recognition and comprehension, and it aligns with TESL vocabulary to further support ELL and ESL students.
Reading comprehension is essential to ELL students’ full participation in the standard curriculum. Images are a universal language that can help them. Creating visual diagrams of the information encountered in books empowers students otherwise constrained by their language skills. They utilize the connection between words and pictures to convey their thoughts, questions and insights. The option of recording their voices with enhanced audio support extends this ability and encourages student involvement.
Visual learning techniques help ELL students work through many language limitations by allowing them to express themselves at higher levels than their language skills permit. By providing a vehicle to express complex ideas, graphic organizers help ELL students demonstrate their understanding and tap into their learning strengths. ELL students use graphic organizers to evaluate and analyze information and convey their understanding of how information is interconnected.
Expression and writing
For many ELL students, writing in English is the most difficult part of learning the language. Kidspiration offers integrated Picture and Writing Views and Inspiration offers integrated Diagram and Outline Views that provide a bridge between visual and verbal expression. Students start by developing a visual diagram of their ideas and the relationships between them. That diagram can then be instantly transformed into an outline that shows the same ideas in a linear format. To help young students express their thoughts visually, Kidspiration offers the Symbol Maker tool. Students can draw their own symbols and include them in their graphic organizers, or use the over 3,000 symbols found in the Symbols Library.
Students with language barriers can be overwhelmed by new experiences in content courses. To ensure that all students have access to math content, modifications must be made to curricula and its delivery. Kidspiration's visual math tools - color tiles, pattern blocks, base ten blocks, fraction tiles and fraction boxes - allow students to communicate content visually and develop a conceptual understanding of math that might otherwise be limited by language barriers. In Kidspiration's Math View, they can connect their visual representations to the language of mathematics using numbers, symbols and words.
The research basis
Supporting the positive experiences of countless teachers and students, research shows that the use of graphic organizers and models improves critical thinking, retention, comprehension and organization. In Put Reading First, the National Reading Panel cites the use of graphic organizers as a key strategy for developing text comprehension.
A broader survey of 29 scientifically based studies provides a research base that supports the use of graphic organizers for improving student learning and performance across grade levels, with diverse students and in a broad range of content areas.
Begin using Kidspiration and Inspiration with your English Language Learners across all grades and subject areas, with free resources to integrate Kidspiration and Inspiration into your classroom.
A few years ago Jose was sent to New Beginnings, a public school for at-risk students in Osceola County, Florida. Teacher Teri Inwood says that despite being a bright student, Jose’s school life was a day-in day-out struggle because he had such a hard time understanding and expressing himself in English. When Inwood showed Jose how to use Inspiration for an important History assignment, Jose used Inspiration to visually organize his project and create a timeline of critical events. Despite his previous academic struggles, Jose’s presentation went on to win the school History Fair. Inwood was thrilled with how the software helped Jose and all of her ELL students organize their thoughts, express themselves and produce their best work. “I see Jose in the hallways now and marvel,” says Inwood. “His success with his presentation did wonders to build up his confidence. Language barriers didn’t prevent him from conveying his depth of understanding and making insightful connections between ideas.”