announce their topics and engage their
readers, write strong thesis statements,
link paragraphs with smooth transitions, and especially acknowledge and
refute counterarguments. Sentence
frames, such as the ones below, may
be particularly useful to ELLs for this
n Some people might say that
__________. However, __________.
n Although it is true that
__________, it does not necessarily
follow that __________.
n Some might assume that
__________, but what they fail to consider is that __________.
To start, allow students to use these
frames to orally debate accessible
topics, such as whether McDonald’s
or Burger King makes better French
fries. For example, a student might
say, “Some people might argue that
McDonald’s makes better French
fries than Burger King. However, Mc-
Donald’s’ fries lose their taste when
they get cold, whereas Burger King’s
fries are delicious even when cold
because of the secret seasoning.” Later,
students can tackle more complex
academic tasks with the support of
these frames—for instance, analyzing
a controversial position statement and
then writing an argument agreeing or
disagreeing with the author.
Writing: An Essential Skill
for the Many
Demographers estimate that by 2020,
one in four children enrolled in America’s public schools will be Latino
(Maxwell, 2012). Further, ELLs in
grades 7–12 are the fastest growing
segment of the K– 12 student population (Batalova & McHugh, 2010).
Now more than ever, teachers must be
well-prepared to meet the needs of
ELLs and have a diverse repertoire of
strategies to help these students
succeed as academic writers. Because
writing is a gatekeeper for college
admission and a key criterion for
hiring and promoting salaried workers,
the ability to write well is “not a frill
for the few, but an essential skill for
the many” (National Commission on
Writing for America’s Families,
Schools, and Colleges, 2003). EL
Batalova, J., & McHugh, M. (2010).
Number and growth of students in U.S.
schools in need of English instruction.
Washington, DC: Migration Policy
Cisneros, S. (1984). The house on Mango
two nonfiction articles
with the authors
logical reasons and persuasive language
a compelling case
Agree or disagree
Write an essay in which you take a stand about whether we should give money
to homeless people. Support your argument with facts, reasons, details, and/or
examples. Be sure to cite at least two nonfiction articles that discuss this issue
and agree or disagree with the authors. Convince the reader that your point of
view is best. Use logical reasons and persuasive language to make a compelling