Strategies to use with your English Language Learners Gr 4-6

Teaching Tip of the Month

This month's Teaching Tip comes from Strategies to use with your English Language Learners Gr 4-6.

English Language Learner Instruction: Teaching Strategies


Use this strategy to model thought processes while reading, writing, or demonstrating an activity to students. In doing so, you are showing your problem-solving techniques, which students can reflect on and adopt as their own. Think-alouds also demonstrate to students that they are not alone in having to think their way through tasks. Here are the basic steps to a think-aloud:

  1. Choose a book and read it out loud.
  2. Stop to make comments while reading.
  3. Have students discuss what they observed while you were thinking aloud.

Alternatively, you can modify the steps using one or several of the following options:

Ways to Use Think-Alouds: when comparing and contrasting, practicing cause and effect, analyzing specific plot events, discussing word patterns

Tips for Teaching the Strategy

Sample Activity

Model a think-aloud by reading a poem. Invite students to think aloud with you during a second reading of the poem. Give students phrases such as, "I picture . . . ," "I wonder . . . ," etc.


Use this strategy so ELLs can rehearse what they want to say, negotiate meaning with partners, and expand or correct their understanding. Here are the steps to think-pair-share:

  1. Ask a question.
  2. Have students think for a moment silently.
  3. Ask students to share their ideas with partners.
  4. Call on volunteers to share with the class.

Ways to Use Think-Pair-Share: during class discussions; brainstorming; story, reading passage, or textbook questions; science activities

Tips for Teaching the Strategy

Sample Activity

Have students discuss characters or plot in a narrative story.

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