ACCESS Newcomers

Building Content Literacy Through Learning Grades 5–12

HMH Professional Services
  • Why?
    Access Why

    ACCESS: Building Literacy Through Learning® simultaneously teaches language and content to provide students with a successful transition to their core instruction. The series includes ACCESS Newcomers, ACCESS American History, ACCESS World History, ACCESS Science, ACCESS Math, and ACCESS English Language Arts.

    ACCESS: Building Literacy Through Learning offers an innovative series of content-area programs designed for middle-level English language learners. Blending best practices in ESL instruction with academic content, the lessons in each text:

    • focus on the big ideas in the content area
    • support and scaffold different levels of language proficiency
    • provide oral language activities
    • complement classroom curriculum and build academic vocabulary
    • prepare students to succeed on both language and content-area tests
    • present standards-based content in a highly visual, age-appropriate design

    Flexible, easy-to-manage teaching support includes a Teacher’s Edition, Student Activity Journal, Assessment Book, and Overhead Transparencies.

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    • Program Overview

      Develop beginning language, literacy, and content for newly arrived and beginning English Language Learners in Grades 5 & up with ACCESS Newcomers. Clear, highly visual presentations, together with explicit instruction, build a foundation for academic success.

      • Starting Out focuses on essential words and sentences for getting around school.
      • Getting Ready and School Readiness introduce key concepts and vocabulary from English, math, science, and American and world history.

      ACCESS Newcomers is a multi-level program for beginning English Language Learners. The program offers three progressive stages: Starting Out, Getting Ready, and School Readiness, plus an introductory Readiness unit for those newcomers who arrive with little educational background.

      ACCESS Newcomers introduces 2,160 high-frequency vocabulary words, including important academic terms that will get students ready for their content-area subjects. The program includes:

      • 320-page Pupil’s Edition for whole-class instruction
      • Assessment Folder for tracking students’ language development over the school year
      • Word Tiles for hands-on learning
      • 120 Lesson Cards for pull-out programs and small-group instruction; Overhead Transparencies are available for each lesson card
      • CD of additional resources, including printable Word Tiles, Sentence Strips, and take-home activities
      • Assessment Book to document student progress
      • Teacher’s Edition with a four-step lesson plan for giving students practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing vocabulary words in sentence contents; additional activities develop students’ understanding of English

      Pupil’s Edition Features

      Each ACCESS Pupil’s Edition is organized around lessons specifically designed to meet the needs of English language learners. Each lesson is divided into four parts: Look and Explore, Listen and Talk, Read and Write, and Develop Language.

      ACCESS Math

      Add math content skills and math language learning.

      • Covers all the big math ideas found on state assignments
      • Includes oral language and hands-on activities
      • Provides step-by-step models and examples in a highly visual design
      Newcomers Math

      ACCESS Science

      Features standards-based science content in a clear, highly visual format.

      • Core science instruction to support different levels of proficiency
      • Oral language and hands-on activities
      • Support for adequate yearly progress to prepare students for state language and science assessments
      Newcomers Science

      ACCESS History

      Increase English literacy while building knowledge of history.

      • Focuses on intermediate and advanced ELL students and struggling readers
      • Builds content-area vocabulary and language skills
      Newcomers Social Studies

      ACCESS English

      Provides critical support for developing language proficiency.

      • Focuses on the big ideas through high-interest lessons in literature, writing, reading, and grammar
      • Supports and scaffolds different levels of language proficiency
      • Builds oral language through engaging activities
      Newcomers English

      Teacher’s Edition Features

      The Teacher’s Edition provides page-by-page support for planning and instruction.

      • Each lesson is standards-driven
      • Reviews previously taught concepts
      • Provides suggestions for differentiating instruction for students with different levels of language proficiency
      • Engages students in meaningful ways through student activities
      • Integrates other resources for further reference
      • Offers suggestions for culture connections, real-world connections, and Internet activities
      • References relevant exercises in the Student Activity Journal for additional practice
      • Gives teachers helpful tools for assessing student progress

      Lesson Pacing

      ACCESS gives teachers two options for pacing.

      One-Year Course

      The program can be taught in one school year by covering each lesson in one and a half weeks. To complete ACCESS in one year, cover two pages every day.

      Two-Year Course

      The program can be taught over two school years by covering one lesson every three weeks. To complete ACCESS in two years, move at the pace of one page per day.

    • Differentiating Instruction

      A typical classroom of English language learners includes students at varying levels of language proficiency. ACCESS helps teachers differentiate their instruction to meet these different students’ needs. In each of the three lesson parts—Talk and Explore, Look and Read, and Develop Language—you can support your students, as the chart below shows. In addition, teaching notes give specific activity suggestions for differentiating instruction. You can also use the Assessment Folder to track students’ progress over the course of the year.

      Language Proficiency

      Talk and Explore

      Look and Read

      Develop Language


      An effective teaching method for beginning students is to pair them with more proficient partners or with partners who speak the same first language.
      Build background by naming objects in the introductory picture. Write key words on the board. Read aloud and have students repeat with you. Use the introductory paragraph, headings, picture captions, and summaries to help students get a broad overview of the lesson. Invite students to draw and pantomime to show what they know. Encourage one-word and short-phrase responses.

      To facilitate learning for intermediate students, you may want to change student partners and form small groups with different combinations of students.
      Build background with the picture and encourage students to draw on their own experiences, using short sentences, pantomiming, and labeling to show what they know. Have students use headings and picture captions to predict what they will learn. Encourage note-taking and K-W-L Charts. Let partners help each other. Over time, raise your expectations for language use. Relate lesson content to academic expectations in other classes, in assignments, and on tests. Assign the Write activity. Work gradually through lists and numbered sentences to complete paragraph responses.

      At times, pair advanced students to help them challenge each other.
      Build background through a discussion of the picture and how it introduces key ideas of the lesson. Use the questions to stimulate a class or group discussion. Help students use reading skills, such as predicting, finding main ideas, and comparing and contrasting. Expect silent reading, but check comprehension through the Talk and Share activities. Encourage written responses. Ask that role-plays be scripted. Help students write descriptive, persuasive, and explanatory paragraphs.
  • FAQs

    Q: How can ACCESS work for all my English language learners?

    A: ACCESS can work for many levels of learners because it targets intermediate and advanced students, and offers ACCESS Newcomers for beginners. ACCESS is also a great resource for students who are transitioning from ESL programs into mainstream classes but who need sheltered content instruction.

    Q: How does ACCESS compare to our basal text?

    A: ACCESS shelters the content of the subject. It covers the topics and standards of a content area, but with about 10% of the words of basal texts. Students need to read texts that are on their reading level. They need comprehensible text, as opposed to frustrating tomes that have considerably more information and complexity than they can currently handle. ACCESS gives ESL students access, or an entry point, making content ACCESSible.

    Q: What is the role of grammar in ACCESS English?

    A: ACCESS English integrates the teaching of grammar with lessons on literature, reading, and writing. It teaches grammar in context, in every lesson, and one lesson in each unit focuses on grammar explicitly, developing understanding of each of the major parts of speech. Unlike most ESL programs, ACCESS English teaches about grammar in a concise, yet comprehensive, way. As a result, students build a working knowledge of grammar that is reinforced through reading, writing, and oral practice.

    Q: How can ACCESS help my students with little or no educational background?

    A: ACCESS Newcomers has a Readiness unit that covers the basics, such as the alphabet, addition and subtraction, colors, countries of the world, places in America, and other fundamentals. The three levels in ACCESS Newcomers become gradually more sophisticated as students are challenged to accelerate their learning and transition to the next proficiency level.

    Q: How does ACCESS prepare my students for high-stakes tests and help me show annual yearly progress?

    A: ACCESS is a standards-based program. It teaches the language and skills integral to test-taking as well as the standards-based content of the tests themselves. ACCESS gives students the academic language required to understand school assignments and teacher explanations and models how to produce written responses for success.

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