With the rapid increase of ELs in Michigan and around the United States, scholars have been exploring ways to narrow or close the achievement gap. This pursuit is significant, but hard to achieve due to various challenges that ELs experiencing in their schooling. This situation worsened in relation to ELs from refugee backgrounds due to the traumatic experience that occurred before they were resettled in the U.S. More critically, EL teachers and paraprofessionals are often marginalized from other teachers. The purpose of this article is to introduce and advocates for a Learner Self-Narrative-based (LSN-based) approach to better support EL students. This approach, developed upon strong theoretical foundation, has six steps to engage ELs and promote their literacy development. The approach has the potential to encourage schools to move away from using existing decontextualized textbooks and instead to adopt EL self-constructed stories as instructional materials.

Author Bio

Dr. Rui Niu-Cooper is an associate Professor and the Director of the ESOL Certificate and ESL Endorsement Programs in the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) College of Education and Community Innovation. She is interested in English as a Second Language Teacher Education, English as a Foreign Language instruction, and higher education-school-community collaborations on effective ways to teach and engage students from diverse background. She can be reached at .



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