Project Ignite

Innovation to Grow, Nurture, and Inspire Teachers of English-learners

Recommended Books and Articles

Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education – Third Edition 

From The Center for Applied Linguistics, Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education – Third Edition is a tool for Multilingual Learner educators. This resource is free for digital download.

Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications

By Maki Park, Jie Zong, and Jeanne Batalova

This report from the Migration Policy Institute investigates the diversity withing the Dual Language Learner community in the United States.

Culturally Relevant Books and Resources

The CUNY-NYS Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals has gathered a variety of resources together for educators to curate a culturally and linguistically rich environment for young bilinguals.

Reframing language allocation policy in dual language bilingual education

by María Teresa (Maite) Sánchez, Ofelia García, Cristian Solorza

This article addresses language allocation policies in what is increasingly called “Dual Language Education” (DLE) in the U.S., offering a challenge to the strict language separation policies in those programs and a proposal for flexibility that transforms them into “Dual Language Bilingual Education” (DLBE). The article offers a historical review of policies and practices in bilingual education and the ways in which the present language policies for DLE have come about. It then provides a critical assessment of those policies, which focus on teaching two languages, rather than educating students bilingually. We argue that the rigid language allocation policies of DLE ignore the sociolinguistic realities of bilingual learning for all students, especially for language-minoritized bilingual students. The main part of the article sets forth a new alternative policy proposal for language allocation that more coherently reflects the dynamic nature of bilingualism and reclaims the criticality of bilingual education and its social justice purpose. The proposal embodies an understanding of bilingual education through a translanguaging lens to open up spaces where students develop not only their bilingualism and biliteracy, but also a criticality that resists social arrangements of language normativity that differentiate and exclude. The translanguaging allocation policy proposed here works with the existing spaces for English and the Language Other than English, but introduces three components that offer the flexibility and criticality needed to educate bilingual students for the future: (1) translanguaging documentation; (2) translanguaging rings; and (3) translanguaging transformative spaces.

The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide 

by Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull-Sypnieski  

“The ESL/ELL Teacher?s Survival Guide offerseducators practical strategies for setting up an ESL-friendlyclassroom, motivating and interacting with students, communicatingwith parents of multilingual learners, and navigating the challengesinherent in teaching ESL students.” –Publisher provided

Boosting Achievement: Reaching Students with Interrupted or Minimal Education 

by Carol Salva and Anna Matis

Boosting Achievement is a guide to help educators and school districts navigate the challenges and learning opportunities unique to SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education). – Editorial Review

Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language

by Jeff Anderson

“Not only is this book full of fantastic ways to make abstract grammatical concepts more concrete and accessible for young writers, it’s also designed to deepen the teacher’s conceptual understanding in ways that honor all learners– even the grown-up ones. If you think “progressive tense” means someone named Flo is trying to angrily sell you insurance, then this is definitely the book for you!” -Amazon Reviewer

Psychology Today

According to 2016 data from the American Community Survey, the number of individuals who are bilingual in the United States has nearly doubled. These numbers do not include children under the age of five.


As the author of this blog post declares, teaching English language learners is “a complex endeavor.” In a personal and reflective manner, the author discusses America’s future classrooms of increasing diversity and a few of the many approaches for teaching ELs based on interviews with teachers.

The Buffalo News

This article highlights the increased language diversity schools are experiencing, and the lack of bilingual teachers who speak the students’ languages. In Buffalo, students speak 83 different languages. While the school district has increased the number of Spanish-speaking bilingual teachers, it now needs more bilingual teachers who can speak Arabic, the language the largest percentage of new students speak.  

Bilingual Kid Spot

This brief blog post provides definitions of the different types of bilingualism. It explains some facts and some common misconceptions about bilingualism. It’s a good basic introduction to bilingualism.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

High school students enrolled in an early childhood education course spent a day at a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program in an elementary school observing how the two classroom teachers taught one part of the day in one language and the other part of the day in a second language. The field trip was an effort to have the high school students, many of whom are multilingual, consider a career as a DLI teacher.

Education Week

Two studies have concluded that the guided use of social media can support high school students in learning English. It was found that students’ literacy and language skills in English increased with in-class use.

The Chicago International Charter School West Belden, where more than half of the students are multilingual learners, is using a personalized learning approach. Educators quickly realized they first needed to spend time teaching students some non-technological skills (e.g., work with partners, staying focused during independent study) before introducing students to individualized technology.

The Wampanoag tribe of Mashapee, Massachusetts, has established a language immersion school to revive their native language, which was virtually eliminated during colonization. After more than six generations of no one speaking Wampanoag, about 500 people, including preschoolers, are now learning the language.

Ed Source

Over the past four years, the Fresno Unified School District has been successfully engaging preschool parents in school activities. Building the relationship starts with the child’s teacher interviewing families using a conversational protocol that asks about their home language and what they want for their child.

Harvard Graduate School of Education:Usable Knowledge

What do mainstream classroom teachers need to know to effectively teach the multilingual learners in their classrooms? By following six principles and three steps presented here, these teachers can become more linguistically responsive teachers.  

Tonya Ward Singer’s Blog

This blog post lists 10 simple ways teachers can value their students’ home languages and celebrate multilingualism (e.g., Build Multilingual Greetings into Your Routine, Take Risks to Learn New Languages).

New America

Do Dual Language Immersion programs, where all students learn in two languages, cost more than monolingual English programs to implement? A new study of Portland Public Schools explores this question. Its findings may surprise you.

This interview with Debra Ackerman, an early childhood assessment expert, discusses the new study she completed on how states use their Kindergarten Entry Assessments to assess young English language learners.


In this brief blog post, Judie Haynes reminds readers that the best way to teach young English language learners grammar is by engaging students in meaningful interactions in English. Through these interactions, students will deduce English grammar rules. Simply teaching students grammar rules out of context is not effective.

Hands-On Reading Comprehension Strategies for All Learners

Jill Haney shares practical strategies for teaching English language learners reading comprehension skills. These strategies are derived from the research literature on reading.

Addressing Student Anxiety About High-Stakes Writing Tests

Taking written exams often causes students anxiety, and for English language learners, this situation may be exacerbated. This article describes how writing anxiety looks in students and how English as a Second Language teachers can better prepare their students to take written exams.

Children’s Books

The Name Jar 

by Yangsook Choi

The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?

Mama the Alien/Mama La Estraterrestre

by Rene Colato Lainez

Young Sofia finds her mother’s alien resident card, and her mother confirms the truth: she is an alien. Sofia’s imagination runs wild with questions. Does her mother visit her alien friends at night? Does her mother speak three languages—English, Spanish, and Alien? Is Sofia an alien, too? This is a very lighthearted and simple story about residency in the United States, particularly for Hispanics. -Publisher

My Diary from Here to There/Mi diario de aqui hasta alla 

by Amada Irma Perez and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonalez

Written in Spanish and English, My Diary from Here to There is the story of a young girl’s journey from Mexico to Los Angeles as she records her hopes, her fears, and her dreams.

Michel Family Teaching Resources Center (TRC) Resources

The following resources may be accessed through the Michel Family Teaching Resources Center located in the School of Education on the UNC Greensboro campus.

Abriendo Brecha

by Michael D. Guerrero

ISBN: 0984316973

Teaching Reading and Writing in Spanish and English in Bilingual and Dual Language Classrooms

by Yvonne S. Freeman; David E. Freeman

ISBN: 9780325008011

Dual Language Instruction from A to Z

by Else Hamayan; Fred Genesee; Nancy Cloud

ISBN: 9780325042381

Bilingual Education in the 21st Century

by Ofelia García

ISBN: 9781405119948

Films and Documentaries

Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)

This 2015 Peabody Award winning documentary follows the trials and tribulations of Angry Rivera, an undocumented citizen, as she navigates life in the Youtube spotlight.

Living Undocumented Series

This docuseries on undocumented youth and the impact DACA has (or hasn’t) made on their lives.