Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2018

Academic Department



Across the United States, increasing numbers of children whose first language, culture, and/or heritage is not English are being served in classrooms where English is the primary language in instruction. English Language Learners (ELLs) represent more than 5 million students in the United States, of which seventy-five percent are only Spanish-speaking. Many ELLs are facing the challenge of overcoming a language barrier to be academically successful, causing a risk of failure in increasing literacy demands. For educators working with ELLs in general education-related settings, their mission is to identify the root cause of their ELL student’s reading difficulties before they are potentially identified as having a learning disability (LD). As this is not an easy process, it is becoming difficult for educators to determine what strategies to use to support the reading difficulties of ELLs with the potential reading disability. This research focuses on the following research questions: (1) examining how educators' beliefs and experiences are related to and impact their teaching of English language learners (ELLs), (2) determining if teachers are currently using evidence-based strategies to support reading achievement in ELL students, and (3) examining the relationship between ELL status and learning disability diagnosis.


Master's thesis (M.Ed.)--Special Education.