8 Books to Read About Teaching MLLs

In my April blog, I listed seven online resources that I generally read under the #MLLCHAT hashtag on Twitter. This month, I’m listing eight books published in 2021–22 and that have been recommended by participants of #MLLCHAT (formerly #ELLCHAT). These books are great reading for teachers of multilingual language learners (MLLs), general education teachers, school administrators, and other school staff who work with MLLs.

From Equity Insights to Action1. From Equity Insights to Action: Critical Strategies for Teaching Multilingual Learners (2021)
by Andrea Honigsfeld, Maria G. Dove, Audrey F. Cohan, & Carrie McDermott Goldman

The authors focus on the deliberate daily equity actions that all teachers of MLLs can take. They present a compelling advocacy framework for classroom teachers, including:

  • Examples of educators responding to MLLs through an equity lens
  • Student portraits of MLL experiences
  • Answers to essential questions on how to teach MLLs
  • Professional learning activities
  • Access to print and online resources for additional information

2. Restoring Students’ Innate Power: Trauma-Responsive Strategies for Teaching Multilingual Newcomers (2022)
by Louise El Yaafouri

Yaafouri explains how the background of Newcomers and their families can be very different from the norms of the communities in which they live. The author explores the effects of trauma on newcomers and presents strategies that empower multilingual students as they transition their new environment.

3. The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching All Levels (2nd edition, 2022)
by Larry Ferlazzo & Katie Hull Sypnieski

In the second edition of The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, the authors deliver a collection of practical strategies for setting up a classroom that is friendly to MLLs. This book is an indispensable resource for general education teachers and ESL specialists teaching Grades 6–12. It would also be helpful to special education teachers, elementary educators, and administrators.

4. The Equity & Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students (2021)
by Baruti K. Kafele

For the author, the word “equity” evokes student individuality, student cultural identity, and student voice. I had the personal opportunity to hear Baruti K.Kafele speak at an online event sponsored by NJTESOL/NJBE. He shares his personal journey so that his students can be inspired. This is a powerful book that that every educator should read.

Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages5. Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook for Teachers (2021)
by Margo Gottlieb

This book starts with the belief that MLLs and their teachers should be able to participate in assessments in the classroom in multiple languages. Gottlieb provides ideas on providing information on the whole student rather than just their English language development.

Voices of Newcomers: Experiences of Multilingual Learners: Furlong Ed.D, Denise Ammeraal: 9781953852533: Books6. Voices of Newcomers: Experiences of Multilingual Learners (2021)
by Denise Ammeraal Furlong 

This is an easy-to-read guide for all teachers looking to meet the needs of MLLs, especially newcomers and SLIFE. The author talks about how to navigate the first days and weeks with newcomers and provides ways to engage them using asset-based teaching strategies. This book makes a good subject of professional development groups as it includes questions and discussions for each chapter.

Teaching Math to Multilingual Students, Grades K-87. Teaching Math to Multilingual Students, Grades K-8: Positioning English Learners for Success
by Kathyrn Chval, Erin Smith, Lina Trigos-Carillo, & Rachel J. Pinnow

This book presents best practices in teaching mathematics to MLLs by drawing from their strengths. The authors feel that many classroom teachers do not know strategies that help MLLs access the content of mathematics. Their goal is to present ideas that will help students understand the language of mathematics.

Beyond Crises8. Beyond Crises: Overcoming Linguistic and Cultural Inequities in Communities, Schools, and Classrooms (2021)
by Debbie Zacarian , Margarita Espino Calderon, & Margo Gottlieb

The authors explore ideas related to what we should have learned from the pandemic. They believe that

  • the humanitarian needs of students, families, and ourselves must be a top priority.
  • forming effective partnerships with families and communities is essential to the health and well-being of our children.
  • a system designed to serve the interests of a few failed our underserved students, especially our millions of multilingual learners.
  • the “normal” many of us longed to return to was never good enough.
  • we must envision a “better world” where we build on our MLLs’ assets.

Do you have other great books related to teaching MLLs that you have found powerful or helpful, or that you return to again and again? Please share in the comments below!

About Judie Haynes

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes taught elementary ESL for 28 years and is the author and coauthor of eight books for teachers of ELs , the most recent being “Teaching to Strengths: Supporting Students Living with Trauma, Violence and Chronic Stress“ with Debbie Zacarian and Lourdes Alvarez-Ortiz. She was a columnist for the TESOL publication "Essential Teacher" and is also cofounder and comoderator of the Twitter Chat for teachers of English learners #ELLCHAT.
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