Diverse Teaching Strategies for Immigrant Children


Limited English proficient (LEP)



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Limited English proficient (LEP) is an official designation originating with civil rights law, which defines rights of access for students in terms of national origin and language. The term stems from the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1974, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Schools are required to take affirmative steps to identify students who are limited English proficient and provide services that will overcome their language barriers.

Newcomers are recent arrivals to the United States. Programs for newcomers vary in their definitions of who is a newcomer; some use the federal government’s definition of three years or fewer in the United States, while others restrict newcomer status to those who have been in the United States for one year or less (Short & Boyson, 2004).
Figure 3.2: Generation 1.5 Students:

These students have been characterized as first-generation immigrants who arrived in the United States before the age of 10, and thus share many more characteristics with second-generation immigrants than with “true” first-generation immigrants (Pew Hispanic Center/Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004). A survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and Kaiser Family Foundation found that characteristics of these students included:



than first-generation immigrants arriving after the age of 10. This is often reflected in a lack of first language literacy. However, although Generation 1.5 students are usually much more integrated into the American school system than newly arrived immigrants, their academic needs often do not fit in with those of either native English speakers or ELLs and thus they need specially tailored work and attention that English or ESL teachers may not be prepared for (Harklau, 1999).


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