7 Valentine’s Day Books for English Language Learners

vday books

Here are some great Valentine’s themed books to use with your English Language Learners. The topics include world cultures, idioms, simple facts, and and examples of love.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase. This does not cost you any extra money.

How Far Do You Love Me shows a child asking his mom “How far do you love me?” Each page shows a different location around the world. The book has beautiful illustrations to help readers visualize each place.


Papa Do You Love Me? followers a father and son from the Maasai culture as the boy asks his father how much he loves him. The father gives examples using cultural references. This book would go well with asking questions and answering questions as the boy asks: How much, How far, How long, ext.


Mama Do You Love Me? followers a mother and daughter living in the arctic as the girl asks her mother how much she loves him. The mother gives examples using cultural references. This book would go well with asking questions and answering questions as the boy asks: How much, How far, How long, ext.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day  gives facts about Valentine’s Day. The book has text features and brightly colored photographs to support English Language Learners.

Love is tells the story of a young girl that gets a pet duck. Each page uses the phrase “Love is ___________.” and shows her taking car of the animal. This would pair great with a writing activity where students complete the sentence frame “Love is _________.” and tell how they help take care of someone/something.

One Love is based on the lyrics of Bob Marley’s song, One Love. It tells how a girl helps bring positive change to her community.


Love From the Very Hungry Caterpillar  followers the caterpillar from A Very Hungry Caterpillar as it gives examples of what love is. There are examples of descriptive vocabulary and idioms throughout the book.


Valentine’s Day Activities for English Language Learners

vday post

Valentine’s Day can offer a fun way to teach students about kindness and helping others. It be used thematically with language activities. Here are some ideas for integrating Valentine’s Day themes into lessons for English Language Learners.

Kindness cards
Have students write about their classmates. They can write one nice fact about each classmate or you can have them pick names and make a card for one classmate. Here are some FREE examples of how to be kind in the classroom.

How to be a friend
Have students write the steps to being a good friend. This FREE set of  How to be a Friend posters gives students ideas about how to be a good friend.

Parts of Speech Color by Code
These Valentine’s Day Parts of Speech coloring sheets help students practice identifying Valentine’s Day themed parts of speech. Each page is a Valentine’s Day themed picture. Also included are pictures for each part of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions). The vocabulary words are also great for writing or speaking activities.

Parts of Speech Color by code coloring sheets
Parts of Speech Illustrated vocabulary sheets. 








Valentine’s Day Parts of Speech Word Searches
These Valentine’s Day Parts of Speech Word Searches each have vocabulary words for two parts of speech on each page. The words are the same words used in my Color by Code and Illustrated Vocabulary sheets.

Valentine’s Day Picture Prompt Writing Task Cards
These are differentiated Valentine’s Day themed task cards . Each card has a Valentine’s Day themed photograph and writing prompt. Also included are vocabulary words and sentence frames to help students with their writing.

Valentine’s Day Opinion Would You Rather Task Cards
These Valentine’s Day Would You Rather Opinion Task Cards each have two Valentine’s Day themed activities for students to choose from. These task cards can be used as writing prompts or for a speaking activity. There come with and without pictures.

Strategies for Teaching Sight Words to English Language Learners

sight words

Sight words are one tool for helping students learn how to be fluent readers. The challenge for English Language Learners (and all students) is that the majority of these words do not have visuals that are easily associated with them. This can make it more challenge to give meaning to these words. In summary teaching sight words in the context of a phrase or sentence allows students to better remember them. Here are some specific strategies for teaching sight words to English Language Learners.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase. This does not cost you any extra money,

Use High Quality Nonfiction Easy Readers
Nonfiction is a great tool for teaching sight words to English Language Learners. This is particularly true for older ELLs. There are many high quality easy readers that use photographs or simple pictures. This allows ELLs to learn new vocabulary words at the same time they are learning sight words. The context of the books give meaning to the sight words.

Lakeshore Nonfiction Sight-Word Readers

Use Simple Sentences and Phrases with Pictures
Most sight words do not have easy to understand meaning attached to them. Putting them into a sentence or phrase helps to give the words meaning and allows you to add in a picture. This is helpful for early readers and English Language Learners.

Students are able to read short sentences and phrases multiple times. They are quickly able to begin working on reading fluency and not focus on decoding the words of a sentence or phrase.

Sight word phrases are great for quick practice. They can be put on a ring and added to a students book box. They can also be added to a fluency center or incorporated into a guided reading routine.

Use Sentence Frames
Sentence frames allow students to practice reading and writing sentences with support. You can create sentences with sight words students are learning and then have them add in new vocabulary words or pictures to practice reading. For writing students practice writing using the frame and adding in their own information.

Lakeshore Creating Sight-Word Sentences Center

Cut up sentences
Cut apart sentences with sight words that students are learning. Have them put the sentences back in order. This allows them to practice reading each word and think about the overall meaning of the sentence. It is another way to practice sight words in context.

Using Would You Rather Questions with English Language Learners

would you rather post

Would You Rather Questions are fun ways for students to practice speaking and writing. Here are some ideas for using them with your English Language Learners.

Speaking Warm Up

When meeting with a small group of students read a Would You Rather Question. Each student answers the question.  Students can then tell why, which allows for practice giving details and speaking about a topic. If you have low level ELLs you can have take their turn after a few other students have spoken, providing them with additional thinking time and peer modeling of how to format their response. If you are pressed for time simply have them give their preference.

Speaking Practice with a Partner

Students can take turns reading and answers Would You Rather Questions. Model using details to tell why choose a particular choice. This is a fun way to quickly set up a structured speaking activity.

Play a game

With a partner or in a small group students can answer a Would You Rather Question then roll a dice to move around a game board. This is a fun way for English Language Learners to practice their speaking skills.

Opinion Writing

Use a Would You Rather Question as a writing prompt as part of an opinion writing unit. You can use a graphic organizer to help students organize their ideas and expand on their initial ideas.

Here are some premade Would You Rather Task Cards to use with your students. I have included a free set to get you started. What other ideas do you have for using Would You Rather Questions in the classroom?


FREE Would You Rather Task Cards


Would You Rather Opinion Task Cards 
Winter Would You Rather Task Cards



Goal Setting with English Language Learners

Goal setting

Goal setting is helpful for students to reflect on their learning. It can be done at any point in the year. This can be done at any point in the year, but can be particularly beneficial at the beginning of the school year, at the beginning of the calendar year, and before beginning WIDA or other language testing.

For English Language Learners this includes being aware of how they are progressing learning the English Language. This can look different depending on students age and language levels.

WIDA has rubrics for listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They are called Can Do Descriptors and are organized by grade levels. One strategy is to show students what their current language level is and have them record what their goal is for growth.

Students can also set goals based on tasks they want to learn how to complete. As part of the goal setting process they should think about what steps they need to take in order to complete their goal.

If you are interested in goal setting with your English Language Learners I have a set of graphic organizers for the four domains of reading, writing, listening, and speaking to help with this process.

10 Winter Books with Diverse Characters by Diverse Authors

winter books diverse

Exposing students to diverse books is important for building a classroom community where all children feel welcome and valued. Seeing themselves in the books they are reading is extremely important. Additionally students benefit from reading about characters that are different from them.

Reading books that are written by authors of diverse backgrounds is also important for students. Picture book authors can be role models for students, especially when students do author studies and read multiple books by the same author. Having books written by a wide background of authors helps students see that anyone can become an author.

Here are some books with winter themes that are written by a diverse range of authors for students to enjoy.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase. This does not cost you any extra money.

A collection of short poems about winter topics in English and Spanish with beautiful artwork. Winner of the Pura Belpré Award.

Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve

This is the story of a families first winter in America. The children have a difficult time adjusting to the new climate and language of New York. A storyteller comes and helps introduce them to the local library and community. Winner of the Pura Belpré Award.

The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos


A young girls tell about the various uses for a rebozo (woven wrap) including keeping warm in the wintertime. Winner of the Pura Belpré Award.

What Can You Do With a Rebozo?/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo?

A small candle is passed among families of an apartment complex to use for rituals and winter celebrations.

Winter Candle

This book is a lullaby sang by arctic animals to a new Inuit baby. It is the winner of Wordcraft Circle Award.

Sweetest Kulu

This is the story of a snowy winter day where a young boy explores how his world is transformed and finds a snowball that he tries to save it. Winner of the Caldecott Medal.

The Snowy Day

A girl and her mother walk through the snow and the mom draws Chinese characters. She then explains their meaning using surrounding pictures.

In The Snow

A young boy is excited for it to snow. The adults around him keep saying that it will not snow, or that the snow will not last. Finally he gets the snow he has been asking for. The characters use very short sentences or phrases as if it is not their first language. This is a Caldecott Honor Book.


One winter day a boy is bored. Then he meets Jack Frost and enjoys a fun winter day.

Kazuno Kohara grew up in Japan and now lives in the United Kingdom. The illustrations in her books are intricate linocut pictures.

Here Comes Jack Frost

A boy struggles with adjusting to American culture and learning English as he starts his new school. He gains confidence when he helps decorate his classroom for the Chinese New Year.

New Year


Ideas for Teaching Parts of Speech to English Language Learners

Ideas for Teaching Parts of Speech to English Language Learners


Knowing basic parts of speech can be helpful for English Language Learners. It helps give them structure in their speaking and writing. It is a great way to introduce new vocabulary words, and lends itself well to sorting activities. Many language standards in the Common Core cover parts of speech. Here are some strategies for teaching parts of speech.

Highlight parts of speech in different colors
In a reading passage or on a worksheet assign each part of speech students are studying a different color. Then have them highlight them in the text. This is a great way to integrate a grammar lesson with reading. You can use text that students are already familiar with or use a piece of their own writing.

Label pictures
Use a photograph or picture and label all the nouns. Come up with adjectives that describe the photograph. Use adverbs to describe what is happening in the picture. You can give groups of students a picture to label and then combined the responses onto a larger one to display. This is a great writing warm-up. After this grammar exercise student will have a list of descriptive words to use in their writing.

Vocabulary Games

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There are many games that can be used to help teach parts of speech. This includes:

DK Silly Sentences: Each part of speech is a different color. Students create silly sentences using the puzzle pieces. There are pictures for the nouns.

Parts of Speech Bingo: Match words used in a sentence with the correct part of speech on the gameboard.

Sentence Shuffle Fun Deck Cards: Unscramble color coded sentences.  Each part of speech is a different color.

Word sorts help students to categorize and remember words. Sorting words into groups of nouns and verbs or person, place, and thing can be a quick warm up and easy way to review or practice parts of speech. This can be done with both words and pictures depending on students language levels.

Coloring Sheets
Combining coloring pages with learning parts of speech allow students to practice vocabulary words in a fun way. Coloring gives them a creative outlet that even older students will enjoy.







Task Cards 
Task cards are a great tool for learning parts of speech. You can use them to focus on specific areas and break apart information into small chunks. Students can use the task cards independently or work with a partner to answer the questions. Task cards can also be used with game boards.

Preposition task cards

Language task cards that include parts of speech.







Use books

This series of books uses funny cartoon pictures to illustrate the parts of speech. The books cover Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Verbs, and Prepositions.

Words are Categorical

This series of 8 books by Ruth Heller highlights each part of speech. Beautiful illustrations help students visualize the vocabulary words on each page.

Merry-Go-Round A Book About Nouns
A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns
Mine, All Mine A Book About Pronouns
Kites Sail High    A Book About Verbs

Many Luscious Lollipops A Book About Adjectives

Up, and Away A Book About Adverbs

Behind the Mask A Book About Prepositions

Fantastic! Wow! And Unreal! A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions









Use songs

Schoolhouse Rock has some fun songs from the 1970s:

These are clips of Sesame Street segments that focus on parts of speech

Maple Leaf Learning has some catchy songs with easy to follow hand movements for prepositions, and another song for adjectives.