4 Components of an ELA Curriculum to Reach All Learners
Because Students Learn Better in a World They Understand
English Language Arts has the potential to be truly meaningful for students. If you can find a way to help them relate to the reading and writing opportunities in ELA, they might learn something transformative about themselves or the world around them. But in many cases, ELA content fails to reach every student, and only a select few meaningfully engage in class. As an educator, we know that it’s your goal to make those exciting, empowering learning experiences accessible for every student. Making accessibility a reality starts with engagement. Students learn better in a world they understand — so, as educators, you can reach every student by providing them with learning tools and experiences that are accessible, engaging, modern, and relatable.
To support you in your efforts to design such a learning environment, we’ve put together a document with input from literacy experts, curriculum designers, and ELA teachers. The Guide to Selecting Core ELA Curriculum for Student Engagement and Improved Performance takes into account the importance of uniting foundational skills and classic literature with the ever-changing digital space that students have come to expect in a learning experience, and examines how curriculum can best engage students through multimedia and other dynamic tools.
You can download the guide in full by clicking the image below, or continue reading for an overview of the four key components for a robust, effective, and engaging core ELA curriculum.
Tools for Engagement
In this section of the guide, you’ll learn about a key factor in engagement — meaningful points of entry. To engage students, educators must identify the point where a student’s curiosity is piqued, and leverage that curiosity to motivate them to work with the content. Identifying that meaningful point of entry requires that your ELA curriculum utilizes tools that teach students in the way they want to learn. For example, look for curriculum that employs multimedia experiences or social media-like features frequently across lessons.
In the guide, you’ll learn more about meaningful points of entry and find a list of specific tools that foster engagement in ELA.
Instructional Formats for Accessibility
Students need to feel that the content is relevant to their lives in order to engage with it in a way that drives outcomes. The guide breaks this process down into two core components — representation and accessibility. Using video content with student presenters allows students to see themselves interacting with the content and work, and makes the activities feel relevant. Crucially, ELA instruction should not be relatable only to a select population of students. This is where accessibility comes in: providing access to content on multiple devices, online and offline, and in multiple languages makes it available to all learners. You can also promote accessibility with curriculum that utilizes podcasts and audio tools, makes digital and print materials available, and assigns writing activities that vary in length, style, context, and format.
In the guide, you’ll find one teacher’s story and framework for using podcasts in the ELA classroom to engage students.
Differentiation for Wide Reach
An ELA curriculum that prioritizes student engagement will provide multiple means for differentiated instruction. Look for a program that differentiates in device usage, in texts (both topic and difficulty), and language to support English Learners. While various curriculum programs have enabled differentiation for decades, modern programs will use technology to differentiate in ways previously not possible. Look for curriculum that provides students with interactive instruction, audio playback to practice vocabulary, or video enhancement to ensure rigor.
In the guide, you’ll find additional tools for differentiation and advice from Blended Learning expert, Catlin Tucker, on differentiation in ELA.
Strategies for Improved Performance
This last piece is about meeting students where they are, which requires a careful balance of support and ownership. Students should be provided a space that challenges them enough to prevent disengagement, but not so much that it makes them afraid to ask questions. Curriculum can support you in this effort by providing opportunities to learn with different multimedia tools and individual or group activities.
In the guide, you’ll find success stories and advice on varying ELA strategies from four different educators.
Get the full guide by clicking the image below: