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How Schools Can Engage ELL Students and Families

by PowerMyLearning on

What are you doing to engage English Language Learner (ELL) students and families in your school or district?

According to census data, more than 20% of school-age children speak a language other than English at home. And, even though experts say the best way to communicate with parents of ELLs is to use the parent’s preferred language, schools have limited resources to do this effectively and in a way that is linked to student achievement (research shows the best predictor of students’ academic achievement is the extent to which families are involved in their child’s learning at home).

Enter, Family Playlists.

Family Playlists are mobile-friendly homework assignments where students teach their family what they are learning in school. Family Playlists offer translation in 100+ languages, allowing schools to connect with students who are ELLs and non-English speaking families.

There’s an age-old adage that “you don’t really know something until you can teach it.” Turns out, this strategy is especially powerful for ELL students. According to meta-analyses, when ELL students teach their family using their first language, it increases academic success.

Plus, ELL parents get to learn alongside their children, which research shows increases student achievement and attendance.

Here’s how Family Playlists work. When a teacher assigns a Family Playlist, the student’s parent (or family partner) receives a text with a link to the assignment in their language of choice. Then, the student and parent complete a fun (usually offline) activity at home where the student plays the role of the teacher. After completing the activity, the parent sends photos and feedback to the teacher on how well their child understood the concept. Then, the teacher responds to the parent’s feedback and uses the data to better meet the student’s needs.

With embedded translation, Family Playlists strengthen student-teacher-family relationships by opening a meaningful dialogue about learning that previously wasn’t possible.

That’s not all! Family Playlists also have proven impact around student achievement. According to a recent analysis, students using Family Playlists made statistically significant gains in math proficiency equivalent to four additional months of learning.

Ready to bring Family Playlists to your school?

We’ve partnered with hundreds of schools to help them engage their ELL students and families and increase student mastery. Get in touch and let’s work together to bring Family Playlists to your school or district.