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#ILAchat: Fostering Parental Involvement With EL Families

By Wesley Ford
 | Nov 06, 2017

#ILAchat_preview_imageEnglish Learners (ELs) often provide a unique challenge for educators. Although every student comes to school with a different background, culture, and experiences, ELs may also have limited or nonexistent English language skills. But even students with strong conversational English skills can have difficulty grasping the academic vocabulary required for school success, a subject covered in ILA’s recently released literacy leadership brief, Second-Language Learners’ Vocabulary and Oral Language Development.

These challenges are further compounded for immigrant and refugee children, who may have been recently displaced from their home country and suddenly find themselves in an unfamiliar new school culture—the topic of our literacy leadership brief, Early Literacy Learning for Immigrant and Refugee Children: Parents’ Critical Roles. The brief stresses that family engagement is critical for these students to achieve academic success.

But what can educators do to foster parental involvement in the literacy development of EL students?

That’s the topic of our next Twitter chat, which will be held on Thursday, November 9, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Our guest hosts for Thursday’s #ILAchat have an expansive background in the field of EL education. Valentina Gonzalez is a professional development specialist for ELs in Katy, Texas. Her service in education spans over 20 years and includes teaching multiple grade levels as well as serving as an elementary English as a Second Language (ESL) district facilitator. She has her own website, where she blogs about teaching strategies and shares presentations, videos, infographics, and other resources. She also writes a monthly blog feature for MiddleWeb called “The Unstoppable ELL Teacher.” She was recently a featured speaker at her state conference, TexTESOL, and she will be a presenting at IntegratED Portland in February 2018.

Emily Francis is a K–5 ESL teacher in Concord, North Carolina. She was Cabarrus County Teacher of the Year, and she is currently a part of the #FabFiveSquad—a group of teachers, instructional coaches, and site and district leaders focused on building sustainable, highly relevant approaches to EL and multilingual instruction.

Each #ILAchat is a discussion-based exploration of a specific topic, and we invite educators of all experience levels and roles to join the conversation. We want to hear your anecdotes about what did and didn’t work, which resources you would recommend, and how you will work to foster parental involvement with the families of your EL students.

Join us at our next #ILAchat on Thursday, November 9, at 8:00 p.m., ET. And don’t stop using the #ILAchat hashtag just because the chat is over; we want to hear about how you used the information and enthusiasm from the chat to change or improve your practice. Keep coming back to the community with stories and ideas.

See you Thursday!

Wesley Ford is the Social Media Strategist for the International Literacy Association.

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