By Althaea White, ELL Coordinator

It has been a busy and exciting year for the English Language Learner classrooms. The program’s name has changed from English as a Second Language (ESL) to English Language Learner (ELL) because what was once referred to as a second language might actually be a student’s third or fourth language.

At Montello School, a new and sunny environment helps support our diverse community of learners. The classroom has two new computers with Rosetta Stone, a language-learning software program that reinforces the student’s natural learning ability and allows students to advance at their own pace.

Elementary classroom teachers and Title I staff work together to accommodate the many skill levels and academic needs of our students. ELL teachers and educational technicians are striving to ensure an effective, research-based, literacy program, which will enable students to meet high standards set by Lewiston’s learning targets and the Maine Learning Results.

An observer in any of our active classrooms would see students enjoying shared reading of poetry, students and instructors engaged in guided reading and phonetic/phonemic awareness activities, or students listening to one of their favorite books on tape. One activity popular with students is the Cardmaster program. This program uses a multi-sensory approach to mastering the pronunciation, intonation, and articulation of sounds, words, and phrases.

A variety of professional development opportunities are offered to all staff within the Lewiston school system to strengthen the literacy and academic performance of our ELL students. The ELL staff attends bimonthly professional development meetings focusing on lesson planning, language assessments, running records, and guided reading.

With the help of experienced and knowledgeable teachers and tutors, Lewiston’s ELL program is making great strides toward its goals, and becoming an integral part of ensuring success for all Lewiston students.

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