Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilkins, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Education; Early childhood education; English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers


American classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse as students enter with native language knowledge (other than English). Addressing the needs of all students is more difficult given most teachers are native English speakers, have little experience with multiple language knowledge, and can be apprehensive about teaching ELs. With this in mind, this study was undertaken to look at the feasibility of teaching kindergarten students strategies (e.g., use of picture dictionary, word wall, anchor chart use, partnering with peers), thus allowing the student to create their own understanding of English vocabulary rather than having an adult simply give the meaning to them or impart knowledge. Kindergarten ELs were taught strategies, given time to practice, and encouraged to use strategies. Students were then observed using the presented strategies. Use of technology (ELs used iPhones to photograph resources they used) showed to what extent each EL understood and used the presented strategies. Promising results showed ELs were able to understand, use, and adapt strategies, creating meaning for themselves as they acquired English vocabulary. PPVT and MLU testing showed increases and identified additional English words spoken. While this study included a small population, the findings point to strategy use for young ELs as promising. The potential application in classrooms could offer support for classroom teachers as they plan for more classroom diversity.


Advisors: Elizabeth Wilkins.||Committee members: Jeanne Okrasinski; John-Evar Strid.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


258 pages




Northern Illinois University

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