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The Big Book of Tasks for English Language Development, Grades K-8

The Big Book of Tasks for English Language Development, Grades K-8
Lessons and Activities That Invite Learners to Read, Write, Speak, and Listen

60 Lessons for Kids at All Proficiency Levels, Corwin Literacy

Additional resources:

May 2024 | 248 pages | Corwin

Ready-to-go English Language Development tasks that focus on students “doing the doing” of talking, reading, listening, and responding.

In recent years, the percentage of English Language Learners (ELLs) has increased in almost every state, so most teachers are faced with the challenge of teaching literacy to students acquiring English alongside English-speaking students. However, in many integrated learning situations, English Language Development (ELD) instruction is strikingly different than the teaching we provide students whose first language is English.

The Big Book of Tasks for English Language Development helps teachers meet that challenge head-on! Bestselling author and esteemed education consultant Nancy Akhavan shows that teaching multilingual learners requires changing our instruction to focus on practices that have high impact for students as they acquire language. Yet it’s not about doing more— it’s about doing smarter. It’s about having high expectations for all students and providing scaffolds to support students at all levels of English language proficiency as they learn and grow more confident. All the ready-to-go activities in the book

  • Center on active tasks where students do the thinking, talking, reading, and writing, with appropriate support
  • Activate the domains of language — listening, speaking, reading, and writing —  and recognize that these do not develop at the same rate
  • Honor the continuum of language development and build on what students can do
  • Provide teaching tools such as learning targets, suggestions for when to use a task, basic instructions and “teacher talk” for launching a task, and “Watch Fors and Work-Arounds” 
  • Focus on the linguistic assets multilingual learners bring to the classroom and provide opportunities to help them collaborate with peers

With Nancy Akhavan’s signature straightforward, teacher-friendly style, this book offers an uplifting reminder that with the right teaching strategies, educators can support multilingual learners to achieve their full potential and thrive in their learning journeys.

Section 1: Everyday Tasks for Students at the Entering Level of English Language Proficiency (New to English)
Section 2: Everyday Tasks for Students at the Emerging Level of English Language Proficiency
Section 3: Everyday and Sometimes Tasks for Students at the Developing Level of English Language Proficiency
Section 4: Everyday and Sometimes Tasks for Students at the Expanding Level of English Language Proficiency
Section 5: Everyday and Sometimes Tasks for Students at the Bridging Level of English Language Proficiency


The Big Book of Tasks for English Language Development, Grades K-8 by Nancy Akhavan is a clear and useful text for teachers new to instructing English learners. Pre-service and early career teachers who are learning about how to structure lessons will find solid advice and guidance. The book is organized into sections that align with the WIDA proficiency levels: entering, emerging, developing, and bridging. In each section, Akhavan explains multiple strategies that are appropriate for each proficiency level. She also includes “Watch fors and work arounds” so teachers can anticipate how students might react or engage in the lesson. I have taught many pre-service teachers about these activities; this text would be a valuable addition to a syllabus on teaching primary and intermediate literacy. In a classroom setting, this text will provide research-based, effective strategies that can be implemented during intervention blocks or during embedded tier 1 ESL.

Sara Hamerla
Ed.D. Administrator, Multilingual Department, Waltham Public Schools and Visiting Lecturer, Education Department, Framingham State University

Teachers understand the “why” behind the importance of designated English language development but often struggle with “how” and “what” to do.  This book identifies how to effectively utilize designated ELD time, create a safe learning environment, and build confidence in a new language. Teachers get the “what” in a bank of lessons designed with rigor and appropriate scaffolds they can count on to meet the needs of English language learners.

Amy Williams
Ed.D. Program Manager, California Education Partners

The Big Book of Task for English Language Development is an amazing resource for educators. It brings a wide range of research on language development together in a user-friendly practical guide.  Aligning effective practices and strategies with language performance levels will give educators a clear direction and pathway to support all language learners at an appropriate level. 

Cari Carlson
Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services

This book is an amazing resource for any teacher who supports English Learners! It is a teacher-friendly guide full of practical tips and strategies that reinforce great pedagogy and solid teaching practices. I highly recommend principals to provide this great tool for their teachers as a planning support and a great professional reference! As an EL myself and bilingual teacher of several years, I wish I would have had this reference to guide my lesson planning---it would have saved me time and made my job so much easier. Thank you, Nancy for providing teachers with such a great resource!

Janie Sifuentes-De La Cerda
Elementary ELA Manager-Fresno Unified School District, Fresno, CA

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ISBN: 9781071904121