“Language is pretty invisible if you know it well…”


 “Language is pretty invisible if you know it well. It is NOT invisible if you don’t know it well…” Dr. Lily Wong Fillmore

CCSS and Text Complexity for English Learners and Language Minority Students

As K-12 educators become acquainted with the new requirements and demands of the Common Core State Standards, they become keenly aware that opportunities and challenges abound not only for their students, but for themselves as well. Shifts are occurring not only at programmatic levels, but also at personal levels, as teachers begin to digest and appreciate what will be expected of their students as we all wade into the waters of CCSS.

The implications for English Learners and their language minority counterparts was not lost on the authors of the new standards, as their approach to drafting them was considerate of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. That withstanding, the authors also acknowledged that the support that ELs need to access the CCSS would need to look dramatically different from what has been previously available (Teacher resource to support UDL planning here: Step_3_UDL_Instructional_Methods).

The new standards place heavy emphases on text complexity and amplify skills and language demands on students as they access content.

In this video, Dr. Fillmore focuses on implications of text complexity germane to English Learners, language minority students, and their teachers. She emphasizes the responsibility of teachers to make demanding texts available to all students, especially those who may not yet have the linguistic proficiency to access complex, academic text.

Furthermore, Dr. Fillmore details the kinds of support that teachers and administrators will need to support students, as well as what cannot be taken for granted with regard to language in academic context. The paper she references can be accessed at the Understanding Language site or here: What Does Text Complexity Mean for ELs and Language Minority Students?

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