ELD Instruction and Best Practices

State regulation, 22 Pa. Code § 4.26, declares that Pennsylvania’s local education agencies (LEA) must provide a program for each student whose dominant language is not English for the purpose of facilitating the student’s achievement of English proficiency and the academic standards. This language instruction educational program encompasses:

 Planned instruction by a qualified English as a Second Language (ESL)/Bilingual teacher

    • This varies based on a student's level of language development. Students with higher levels of language development will usually receive approximately 30 minutes of direct, small group ELD instruction per day. Students with lower levels of language development will receive the 30 minutes of small group instruction with additional language supports as needed. This could include but is not limited to, Rosetta Stone, System 44, or individualized one-on-one instruction provided by the ESL teacher.


  • adaptations/modifications in the delivery of content instruction by ALL teachers based on the student’s language proficiency level and the Pennsylvania Language Proficiency Standards (PA ELDS) Framework for ELs as well as the Pennsylvania Academic Standards


    • The most important thing a classroom teacher can do is make learning as VISUAL as possible. Write directions on the board, use pictures and videos, provide students with graphic organizers, and model the steps of a process and the finished product.


    • Build in more group work; which allows for more language practice in a lower-risk environment.


    • Honor the “silent” period for students who are new to the country. The average silent period usually lasts between 2 to 6 months.


    • Some scaffolding with a student’s native language can be appropriate, but we want to be cautious not to rely on this too much. It should only be used for important information. If we use a student’s native language too much, we will take away their motivation to learn English.


    • Pre-teach important skills, concepts, and vocabulary so that students have the background knowledge to build onto.


    • Provide appropriate ELD accommodations and modifications on all assignments and assessments. Some appropriate ELD accommodations include:
  • Explain directions
  • Repeat directions or provide written directions
  • Translate directions
  • Read test orally when appropriate
  • Use bilingual dictionaries or English dictionaries
  • Use highlighters or underline key words
  • Students read questions aloud
  • Tests administered in a separate room
  • Extended time to complete assignments and tests
  • Breaks during testing
  • Study guide sent home prior to testing
  • Administer practice tests or sample questions
  • Student responds orally instead of in writing
  • Provide materials to mask portions of the test
  • Prompt students to ask if they have any questions
  • Provide a word box or vocabulary list to facilitate matching, open-ended response, or writing assignments
  • Reduce the number of answer choices in multiple choice and matching tests
  • Change the response format (ie: make open-ended questions multiple choice)