What Is the Emergent Level of ELL? Exploring English Language Learners’ Development

The emergent level of English Language Learning (ELL) signifies a pivotal stage where learners grasp the fundamental concept that speech can be transformed into written form and that the written words on a page can be deciphered through reading. However, at this stage, the learners don’t fully comprehend the intricate mechanics and rules governing this code. Instead, they embark upon an awe-inspiring journey of literacy exploration, teeming with moments of revelation and enthusiasm. The emergent stage lays the foundation for linguistic growth and sets the stage for the progression towards higher levels of language proficiency.

What Are the Levels of ELD Students?

There are several levels of English Language Development (ELD) that students may fall into based on their proficiency in the English language. The first level, ELD Level 1, is often referred to as “Beginning” or “Newcomer.”. These students are just starting to learn English and may have very limited vocabulary and understanding. They may require a lot of support and guidance to navigate their way through the language.

The next level, ELD Level 3, is commonly referred to as “Intermediate” or “Expanding.”. At this stage, students are able to understand and communicate more effectively in English. They can express their thoughts and opinions on various topics, but still require some assistance with more advanced language structures and vocabulary.

Finally, there’s a category of students known as Long-Term English Learners (LTEL). These students have been receiving English language support for an extended period of time, but still haven’t reached proficiency. LTEL students often face unique challenges and may require targeted interventions to help them catch up to their peers.

By understanding the specific needs and abilities of students at each level, teachers can provide tailored instruction and interventions to help them progress and succeed academically.

Emergent bilinguals, also known as English Language Learners (ELLs) or English Learners (ELs), are a unique group of students who’re engaged in the simultaneous development of their home language while also acquiring a new language. These students possess the ability to navigate and communicate in their native language, and as they become proficient in English, they gradually transition into becoming bilingual individuals. The term “emergent ELL” refers to the ongoing process and journey of these students as they navigate their linguistic and academic growth.

What Does Emergent ELL Mean?

Emergent ELL refers to a group of students who’re in the process of becoming bilingual. These students are often referred to as English Language Learners (ELLs) or English Learners (ELs). They’re individuals who’re still developing their proficiency in their native language while simultaneously acquiring a new language, usually English. This dynamic process of language acquisition can present unique challenges and opportunities for these students.

Educators working with emergent ELLs understand the importance of valuing and building upon students linguistic and cultural backgrounds. They create inclusive instructional environments where both the native language and English are embraced and celebrated. These educators recognize that the development of the first language is integral to overall language development and academic success.

By recognizing and appreciating their bilingualism, educators can help these students thrive academically and contribute their rich heritage to the broader society.

Source: What’s an emergent bilingual? | EdWords | Renaissance

Understanding the various stages of English Language Learners (ELLs) is crucial for teachers to effectively support their students. The first stage, Pre-Production, is characterized by limited comprehension and primarily nonverbal communication. In the second stage, Early Production, ELLs begin to use simple phrases and short sentences. Progressing to the third stage, Speech Emergence, ELLs can engage in basic conversations and express their ideas with increased fluency. The fourth stage, Intermediate Fluency, involves improved grammar and expanded vocabulary. Lastly, in the fifth stage, Advanced Fluency, ELLs are able to participate in academic discussions and write fluently. By recognizing these stages, teachers can tailor their instruction and accommodations to meet the specific needs of their ELL students.

What Are the Stages of ELL Students?

As educators, it’s crucial to understand the different stages that English Language Learners (ELLs) go through in their language acquisition process. The first stage, Pre-Production, is characterized by limited or no verbal communication. ELLs may rely on gestures, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues to convey meaning. Teachers should provide visual supports, such as picture dictionaries and word walls, to help ELLs understand and acquire new vocabulary.

In the second stage, Early Production, ELLs begin to use short phrases and simple sentences. They may be able to answer yes/no questions and provide one-word responses. It’s important for teachers to ask questions that require short answers, provide sentence stems, and encourage ELLs to engage in conversation. This stage focuses on building fluency and oral language skills.

During the third stage, Speech Emergence, ELLs start using more complex sentences and engage in longer conversations. They begin to develop a wider range of vocabulary and demonstrate a better understanding of grammar rules. Teachers should provide opportunities for ELLs to engage in collaborative activities and provide feedback on their language use.

The fourth stage, Intermediate Fluency, is characterized by more advanced language skills. ELLs are able to understand and participate in grade-level content with continued support. They’re able to express complex ideas and demonstrate a deeper understanding of academic language. At this stage, teachers should provide ELLs with opportunities to practice their English language skills in academic settings through content-based instruction.

Differentiated Instruction for ELLs at Each Stage

  • Pre-Assessment
  • Grouping students based on language proficiency
  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Designing appropriate learning activities
  • Using authentic materials
  • Providing language support
  • Using visual aids and graphic organizers
  • Collaborating with other teachers and specialists
  • Assessing student progress
  • Providing timely feedback

The New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL) is used in NYC to determine the English language level of students. Based on the results, students are categorized into one of four levels: Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, and Expanding. These levels indicate the proficiency and progress of English language acquisition. Students who score at any of these levels are considered English Language Learners (ELLs) and receive specialized support to enhance their language skills.

What Are the 4 Levels of Being an ELL in NYC?

In New York City, students who’re English Language Learners (ELL) go through a four-level identification process to determine their English language proficiency. This process begins with the administration of the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL). The results of this test are then used to assess a students language level, which falls into one of four categories: Entering, Emerging, Transitioning, Expanding, and Commanding.

The first level, Entering, is categorized as “Beginning.”. Students at this level have limited or no ability to communicate effectively in English. They require support to understand and participate in everyday conversations and academic tasks. At this level, students may need assistance not only in English language instruction but also in basic subject areas.

The next level is Emerging, classified as “Low Intermediate.”. Students at this level have acquired some basic English skills but still struggle to express themselves or understand more complex language. They may need support in developing their vocabulary and grammar, as well as accessing grade-level content. Teachers at this level focus on providing explicit language instruction while gradually introducing more challenging academic tasks.

Transitioning, the third level, is referred to as “Intermediate.”. Students at this level have a solid foundation in English and can engage in more complex conversations and academic tasks. Teachers at this level continue to provide explicit instruction while incorporating more content-based topics and tasks.

The fourth level is Expanding, which is classified as “Advanced.”. While they may still have some areas for improvement, they can access grade-level content and communicate effectively in various settings. At this level, teachers focus on building higher-order language skills and developing academic language proficiency across subject areas.

It’s important to note that being identified as an ELL doesn’t determine a students academic potential or future success. With appropriate support and instruction, ELL students can excel academically and achieve at high levels. The goal is to help them gain the language skills necessary to fully participate in and benefit from their education.

Strategies for Effectively Teaching ELL Students in Each Language Proficiency Level

There are several strategies that can be used to effectively teach English Language Learners (ELL) in each language proficiency level. In the beginning proficiency level, it’s important to use bilingual materials, visuals, and gestures to support comprehension. Providing explicit instructions and modeling examples can also be helpful.

In the intermediate proficiency level, scaffolding techniques can be used to gradually decrease support and foster independent learning. This can include providing sentence frames, graphic organizers, and guided practice activities. Incorporating real-world applications and hands-on experiences can also enhance learning.

In the advanced proficiency level, strategies such as peer collaboration, group discussions, and project-based learning can promote higher-order thinking skills and language development. Encouraging critical thinking, problem-solving, and independent research can also be beneficial.

Overall, it’s essential to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment, establish clear expectations, and provide ample opportunities for ELL students to practice speaking, reading, writing, and listening in English. Differentiated instruction and frequent assessments can help monitor progress and tailor instruction to meet individual needs.


However, during this stage, the learner hasn’t yet fully grasped the intricate code that exists behind the written language. The emergent stage is a time of immense exploration, curiosity, and enthusiasm for literacy as students uncover the connection between speech and written words. It’s a period characterized by great discovery and excitement as students embark on their journey towards becoming proficient readers and writers.

Scroll to Top