Application for ELLs - Homework and Practice


  • Homework needs to be an extension of what has already been taught in class.
  • Differentiate and adapt homework to stages of acquisition - use Stages of Acquisition as a guideline.

ELLs don't have to receive the same homework as English-dominant students. Ensure they are given homework that requires them to use skills or vocabulary already learned or learning.

  • Make sure homework expectations and assignments are understood.

Use native language when possible; take advantage of district translators, older siblings and parent volunteers that are available

In addition to previously-taught content, homework formats should be explained beforehand, especially for beginning level ELLs. For example, if assigning a math practice page, be sure students have seen similar problems in a similar format before, and have begun the practice in class. This allows students to ask questions before they leave, and experience more success at home with the assignment.

  • Cultural Considerations and Family Involvement

Find creative ways of including limited English-speaking parents (while still maintaining student accountability, see Research section regarding Homework) such as G.L.A.D. Home-School Connection, parent interviews, reading logs that involve listening to student read, or reading in native language, etc. (For examples, see Ideas & Strategies for Homework and Practice.)


ELLs need even more practice to attain automaticity. It is important to provide an opportunity to practice concepts and language in the class with teacher and peer feedback available.

  • Practice should focus on elements of a complex skill

Design practice to focus on difficult aspects of more complex skills

Give time to practice orally before expecting written fluency (eg., the "We Do" portion of Systematic ELD) To learn new language, students need multiple opportunities to use it. Structured Oral Language Practice routines (Dutro) ensure each student practices utilizing new language multiple times during every lesson.

Students need time to practice high-level, content-specific vocabulary.

  • Chart speed and accuracy for appropriate skills for student to monitor his/her own growth

Certain skills would not be appropriate to chart for beginning ELLs

Charts and graphs are a form of feedback which can be very motivating for students. (sample chart)

  • Students retain more when they paraphrase (orally or in writing restating ideas in their own words) or summarize at the end of a lesson or unit.