Colorín Colorado: Working with English Language Learners to Build a Foundation for a Successful Life


For many people, language is a barrier that keeps them from opportunities to be a productive member of society. For children, it can be a devastating and confusing obstacle in a fight for survival. Colorín Colorado, an organization based in Washington D.C., is making a difference.

do you have resources you'd like to share? contact us.

want to stay in touch? follow us on twitter; like us on facebook.

Thanks to Lydia Breiseth, director of Colorín Colorado, for sharing their good work.

With the border crisis center stage in our national conversation, the problem of language as a dividing obstacle among the unique population of the United States has also come into focus. 

When Non-English-speaking immigrants come to the US, their success and contribution as members of society will generally be measured by their ability to learn the language.

Colorín Colorado is not a political agency. They do not hold a partisan position in Washington, nor do they participate in debates on national policy. However, their work with this challenging issue promotes a positive and beneficial outcome by encouraging education and understanding. As an organization that works with parents and teachers of ELLs (English Language Learners), Colorín Colorado operates at the frontlines and provides a vital resource for newcomers to the United States.

With ELLs now comprising an estimated 10% of the K-12 U.S. school population (source: Colorín Colorado website), teaching English to this growing population is a fact of life. Many of these students come from low-income households and attend schools with limited resources. Hard working teachers who receive little or no training in how to work effectively with ELLs, identify their students' abilities and academic needs, and communicate with ELL parents are called upon to teach a diverse population without an effective support system.

Parents struggle to learn the specific rules and policies of U.S. schools while the barrier of language can distance them from participating fully in the school experience and supporting their children’s best efforts.

Colorín Colorado steps in, offering free multimedia materials such as classroom videos, toolkits, research-based articles, multilingual tip sheets, newsletters, featured books and authors, and social media. They provide information about topics such as reading together at home, creating a welcoming classroom environment, and helping ELLs meet the new Common Core State Standards. Colorín Colorado is a bilingual website in English and Spanish -- and offers basic parent content in thirteen languages, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Hmong.

We take our hats off to the women and men of this hardworking organization who are making the best of a challenging situation and offering resources that ultimately benefit all of American society.

*Portions of this article are taken from the Colorín Colorado website. They have been modified to the format of this page.

By Michael J Krass

Explore the resources for teachers, parents, and childcare workers pertaining to Family Separation at the U.S. Border on Colorín Colorado's website by clicking here.


casey altman