At Home Strategies

Top 10 Tips for Parents/Guardians of English Learners

10. Make sure your child is prepared for school. This means they are getting plenty of rest and assistance on homework assignments. If you are unable to provide your student with homework assistance, look into programs within your school to help your child.

9. Work with your child's teacher. Talk about problems you've noticed, progress that's been made and ask questions about what they think may help your child.

8. When your child is having difficulty understanding schoolwork in English, explain concepts in your home language first. Once they understand, then work on the concept in English.

7. Encourage your child to be proud of your heritage. Find ways for them to incorporate their knowledge of this in their classroom (like on class projects). Encourage them to read and write in your home language. Books in different languages can be found on and other online book retailers.

6. If your stay in the U.S. is not permanent, encourage your child to learn all he or she can while here. Remind them that learning English is not to replace what they already know, but instead is to enhance it. Talk to them about their feelings about being in a different place because a lot of time negative feelings can have a huge impact on what is learned. Help your children to feel pride in themselves and their heritage.

5.  Have fun with language! Play games such as Scrabble and Boggle to help with English spelling. Use I SPY and ABC Books to increase vocabulary in a fun way. Read the comics in both languages and play games where you think of words in one language and your child has to think of the same word in the other language.

4.  Help your child to focus on understanding of books as well as pronouncing the words. Encourage your child to read and read again, in your home language and in English.

3. Your child should be reading books for pleasure at an easy independent level. Encourage them to do this by doing so yourself. These can be in either language and any type of reading: magazines, comics, graphic novels, newspapers, and even online articles. Use every sign, billboard or menu as an example of reading.

2.  Tell your child how important you think school is and encourage him or her to participate in class. Then point out ways you use education daily. Examples could be reading for pleasure, using money in stores or how you use science, math, and language at your job.

1. You need to find a balance in using both English and your home language in your home. When children no longer hear their home language after they begin school, they then begin to lose that language. Bilingual people have more options in our world so your goal should be that your child know both languages well. You should have books in both languages and watch television in both languages. There might be certain activities where it is more appropriate to use one language or the other and that won't create problems. Above all, don't make your child feel embarrassed or ashamed of either language. No language is better than another, but it is important to learn English in order to do well in the United States.


 More resources: - This website offers access to children’s books from around the world. - This website asks a question each day and then provides information as well as an activity to explore the question. Great connects to the real world and school! - This is a free website that helps adults learn English. This may be tough for young students, but is a great resource for older EL students and families. - This site provides information that parents can use to support EL students with homework

Reading Tips for Elementary EL Learners

How can you help with schoolwork?

Provide a place where children can do their homework.

Check that homework is completed each night.

Ask their children to tell them about what they learned each day. 

Keep in regular contact with a teacher or staff member about their child’s progress.

Ask teachers about any questions that arise.

Learn more about homework help programs through before-/after-school programs and the public library.

Read and tell stories in their native language.

Books for Kids

Visit the Colorin Colorado website for resources and information to support your family. The Colorin Colorado site is a free resource for educators and families if English Language Learners.

6 Tips for Students to Become Academically Successful
in More Than One Language:

  • Don’t be afraid to use your native tongue. This tip may be the most important since it is the bridge between your child’s learning situations — that is, the connection between his or her primary language and culture and new language and culture. You can explain unfamiliar words and concepts in the language familiar to your child and continue to build his or her literacy skills in the primary language, while practicing and developing English and academic literacies. Consistent opportunities for practice and meaningful practice and reinforcement of learning the new language and understanding the new culture are important.
  • When it comes to homework, have a routine. Establishing a good study routine at home can make a significant difference in your child’s learning. Provide a quiet environment by removing or minimizing any potential distractions and make sure that your child has all the supplies he or she needs including pencils, books, paper, etc. Take the time to answer any questions your child may have. If you don’t know the answers, you can help your child find resources to help answer the questions he or she has, or you can help your child write down the question to ask his or her teacher. Even if you cannot yet speak English yourself, you can still check on your child to see if homework assignments are finished.
  • Study the same thing in new ways. Try picking a folktale or children’s story with which both you and your child are familiar. Although your child may not understand all of the words at first, your child should generally be able to follow the plot of the story and will pick up new vocabulary and grammar along the way. Asking questions about the story’s plot, characters, etc. can help with your child’s understanding. You can also try watching movies in the new language or even play games that involve language, such as Scrabble, to practice and learn language at home.
  • Use creative outlets to practice and learn language. A fun way to practice and learn language is to engage in creative activities. For example, make a scrapbook together featuring things that have taken place in your new home, city, and/or country and write all the captions and titles in your new language. Does your child like to paint or write? Have them draw a picture and write or tell a story about it. The possibilities are as limitless as your child’s creativity.
  • Encourage involvement in extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities such as being a member of the school’s newspaper or yearbook committees provides additional meaningful opportunities to develop language and literacies. Such activities can help students link the perspectives, strategies, roles and responsibilities they experience in the classroom with those outside of the classroom. Understanding and using language and literacies skills across settings is important in learning and achievement.
  • Stay connected and collaborate with teachers. By staying informed, you can keep up to date on your child’s linguistic, academic, and social progress in school. Understanding what is going on in school will give you a better idea of how you can support your child at home. Coordination and partnership between the school and home helps children thrive and succeed in their new learning environments.



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