yes logo
a teacher assists three children with a classroom activity

Language Scaffolds for English Learners

Using research-based approaches, YES lessons invite meaningful participation by providing scaffolded opportunities for English learners to access curricular materials, demonstrate their understandings, and communicate their ideas. These scaffolds are carefully created to support students’ language development across reading, listening, writing, and speaking domains.

YES language scaffolds include:

  • Discussion strategies. Each lesson includes multiple opportunities for students to discuss their ideas with peers to express, develop, and challenge their ideas.
  • Multimodal content. Students learn multimodally as content is presented using appropriate pictures, anchor charts, realia, gesture, videos, and physical materials.
  • Visual vocabulary cards. Relevant vocabulary terms with their images and definitions are introduced in context to support students’ vocabulary development. Photographs depicting real objects are used to encourage students’ comprehension.
  • Sentence frames. Key sentence frames are provided to scaffold students’ written and oral engineering discourse.
  • Graphics. All student-facing materials include graphics to support students’ reading and listening comprehension.
  • Stories. YES lessons are introduced with an illustrated, context-setting narrative. Stories with images communicate mood, humor, passage of time, etc., thereby increasing accessibility for readers developing English literacy.

These scaffolds benefit all students, including native English speakers.



Youth Engineering Solutions educates the next generation of problem solvers and engineers by developing equitable, research-based, and classroom-tested preK-8 engineering and STEM curricula; preparing and empowering educators to teach engineering; and conducting rigorous research that informs K-12 engineering education.

Youth Engineering Solutions (YES)

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802