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Using Sheltered Instructions to Support English Learners

Sheltered instruction is an essential component of any program for English learners (Genesee, 1999; Harper & de Jong, 2004; Saunders & Goldenberg, 2010; Williams, Hakuta, & Haertel, 2007; Wright, 2010). Sheltered instruction delivers language-rich, grade-level content area instruction in English in a manner that is comprehensible to the learners. When partnered with English language development and, when possible, native language instruction, sheltered instruction allows English learners to progress academically while developing proficiency in English (Faltis, 1993; Fritzen, 2011; Genesee, 1999; Short, 1991; Wright, 2010). Sheltered instruction also incorporates opportunities for students to develop general academic competencies, such as study skills, learner strategies, and critical thinking skills (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2012; Genesee, 1999; Snow, Met, & Genesee, 1989).

This brief provides an overview of sheltered instruction. It first describes when and how to use sheltered instruction to support English learners. It then discusses fundamental components of sheltered instruction, including content and language objectives, instructional strategies (with suggestions for specific content areas), and assessment of content learning. It concludes with a list of resources to help teachers support students through sheltered instruction as they develop their English proficiency and master grade-level academic content.