5 Grammar Strategies for ELL Students

English Language Learners or Ell students are people over the age of five. They are actively learning the English Language at the school they attend. Their native language is not English. Grammar strategies for ell students are vital.

Why is it important to learn English grammar?

Grammar is the basic rules by which the language functions. Most individuals who learn English will start out by studying these rules, in order for them to be fluent in the language.

Think of English grammar as the foundation of a house. If you don’t build a strong foundation, you won’t have a sturdy home. Similarly, if your students’ English grammar skills are weak can they really say they know the language?

Use Mentor Sentences

A mentor sentence is a sentence taken from a book or other text that the students use in the course of their lessons.

First, allow them to read without looking at the grammar. Students should select a sentence they are familiar with after learning about the story.

They can then identify the parts of speech in the sentence. As the teacher, you can color code each part of speech for this exercise. Students can also create their own sentences that are modeled after the mentor sentences.

Use Sentence Frames

In a sentence frame, you have fill-in-the-blank words that you can use to begin answering questions. Sentence frames can be used for any subject, including English Language Learning.

You can use the sentence frame to quiz your ell students on aspects of grammar.

Fill-in-the-blank sentences are a great way to practice sentence-level English. Students will complete the sentence frames, identifying parts of speech, and will then create their own sentences.

Use Students Writing

Sometimes, nothing can be a better grammar strategy for ell students than their own writing. Student writing is a great guide of which grammar concepts to teach and as a source for practicing the new information.

If you notice students unsuccessfully using a grammar concept in their writing, you and make it a teaching tool. They tend to be more invested in this lesson than one in a workbook, because it’s their own writing.

Teach the Difference Between Formal and Informal Spaces

Native speaker of English don’t really think about this, but English happens in formal and informal spaces. When you ask someone, “Can you help me?”, you are asking them to help you from a formal space.

The question would be different if the person were in an informal space. Teach students the difference between formal and informal spaces. Students can see how the grammar skills they are learning can be applied to their own formal and informal spaces.

Until they do this, students will not see the value in grammar unless we actually show them how it’s applied.

To Wrap Up

Using this grammar strategies for ell students in combination can assist in cementing English grammar concepts. These steps can be done in the classroom. But they can also be made into games and puzzles.

Using this variety of techniques, you help your students learn English the right way.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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