Horizon is home to many student for whom English is not the first language. From Canadian-born Low-German Speaking Mennonites to Brazilian international education students, needs may be very diverse. However, it is important that all teachers design learning supports to build vocabulary and the skills to transfer spoken English to reading and writing.

Teachers interested in English language learning may choose to user their ATA Specialist Council choice the English as a Second Language Specialist Council. You can also check out their website at www.eslcata.com​.

I Can Statements for English Language Learners

The I Can Statements for English Language Learners are a student-centred self-assessment tool based on the Alberta K-12 ESL Proficiency Benchmarks.

The I Can Statements describe what students are able to do when using English at each grade level division.

The I Can Statements, which are written in simplified English, allow English language learners to understand their current level of proficiency in English and to work with their teacher to set language learning goals to develop greater language proficiency.

Teachers can also use the I Can Statements to talk with parents, who may also be learning English, about their child’s progress in acquiring English.

The I Can Statements contain less detail about students’ language skills than the Alberta K-12 ESL Proficiency Benchmarks and are not equivalent to, or a substitute for, the Alberta K-12 ESL Proficiency Benchmarks.

Cited from http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/eslapb/i_can.html (Please click here to find the up to date ESL I Can Statements for K-6)

Scope and Sequence Documents

These scope and sequence documents are to provide support for teachers in helping them place students on a continuum on the English as a Second Language Benchmarks.

Characteristics of English Language Learners- This document describes some behaviour characteristics that are common and Linguistic characteristics in students Kindergarten to grade 12 according to Alberta Education Benchmarks.


Writing Conventions scope and sequence document- This document shows a continuum of capitalization and punctuation used in writing for English Language Learners for Kindergarten to grade 9.


Grammar Scope and Sequence- This document has some examples and a continuum of grammar for English Language Learners for Kindergarten to grade 9.

Vocabulary Development

Strong Vocabulary contributes to reading comprehension. When sharing vocabulary with students, teachers need to be explicit and direct in teaching and using the vocabulary in their classrooms. Research suggests that educators focus on four practices that help bring words alive for their students (Blachowicz and Fisher, 2004)

1) Develop word awareness and love of words through word play. Several strategies are included in Strategies to Build Vocabulary to focus on this aspect of vocabulary development. Students create meaning by playing with words.

2) Develop explicit, rich instruction to build vocabulary. Blachowicz and Fisher suggest the STAR model because it provides explicit vocabulary instruction. The model for STAR is on page 5 of Strategies to Build Vocabulary.

3) Building strategies for independence. Helping students learn to understand vocabulary by using context cues, word parts, and dictionaries. However, teachers need to explicitly teach students how to use these tools to develop the skills needed to make use of context clues, word parts, and dictionaries

4) Engage students actively with a wide range of books. Exposing students to many forms of literature in a variety of ways- including reading aloud to and with them- helps students to develop broad vocabularies.


Free Apps to Support Vocabulary Acquisition by ELLs


Selecting Vocabulary Words to Teach English Language Learners