Resource Library Resource Library

Academic Language Academic Language

What is academic language? Importance to MLs SupportEd’s approach

Academic language is more formal and complex language that is used in academic settings. This language also tends to be more abstract, less contextualized, and more nuanced than the language used in social settings. Academic language is broken down into several dimensions: word, sentence, discourse, and sociocultural context.

If Multilingual Learners (MLs) are going to effectively engage with complex, grade-level texts and complete standards-based content tasks, they need to develop understanding of the academic language in each dimension necessary for these tasks. By teaching academic language, MLs gain access to the language of power and open doors to post-secondary opportunities.

In order to teach academic language, you must be able to identify the language demands of the text and tasks MLs will be engaging with in the unit or lesson. SupportEd provides various solutions and practical tools to help build your understanding of academic language and strategies to support your MLs’ development of academic language. For a more detailed understanding of scaffolding for MLs, check out chapters 5 and 6 of Unlocking English Learners’ Potential.

Printables Printables

Academic Language Awareness Checklist

Academic Language Scaffolding Checklist by ELP level

Vocabulary Selection

Books Books

Unlocking English Learners’ Potential Unlocking English Learners’ Potential

Summary Content teachers and ESOL teachers, take special note: if you’re looking for a single resource to help your English learners meet the same challenging content standards as their English-proficient peers, your search is complete.

Courses Courses

Strategies for Building ELs’ Academic Language Strategies for Building ELs’ Academic Language

In the Strategies for Building EL’s Academic Language self-paced course, you will explore research-based practices for supporting ELs as they acquire both lan-guage and content knowledge. Course facilitators from the SupportEd team will collaborate with you in an online, interactive self-paced course on building ELs’ academic language at the word, sentence, and discourse level.

Webinars Webinars

Embedding Academic Language for English Learners (ELs) Embedding Academic Language for English Learners (ELs)

Learn the best practices around delivering thoughtful and systematic academic language instruction for English learners. Synthesize highlights from research and the classroom to uncover strategies thatteach to the layers of word, sentence, and discourse within Academic Language.

Presenter: Diane Staehr Fenner

Articles Articles

Teaching Academic Vocabulary to English Learners: A Q&A with Sydney Snyder Teaching Academic Vocabulary to English Learners: A Q&A with Sydney Snyder

Which vocabulary words should be used to teach ELs, and how should those words be introduced and practiced? Dr. Sydney Snyder, principal associate at SupportEd and co-author of Unlocking English Learners’ Potential, provides the following expert answers for EL educators.