ACCESS Science

Building Content Literacy Through Learning Grades 5–12

HMH Professional Services
  • 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.


    Explore More

    • Program Overview

      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 has three parts:

      Talk and Explore

      • Sets a purpose for students’ reading
      • Gives students the Big Idea of the lesson and provides a picture walk-through, so you can build the concepts and language students will need for understanding
      • Connects with students
      • Invites students into lesson content
      • Builds background
      • Introduces Key Concepts needed to understand the lesson
      • Teaches a skill critical for both understanding the lesson and for success in school and on high-stakes tests
      • Includes a visual aid to preteach important background for the lesson
      ACCESS Science Features

      Look and Read

      • Begins with a note introducing the main ideas of the lesson
      • Presents standards-based content in clear, easily managed chunks
      • Gives Language Notes in each lesson to clarify difficult aspects of English
      • Teaches academic vocabulary and important everyday words at the bottom of each page
      • Offers strong visual support throughout the lesson
      • Provides activities that promote oral language development and help teachers monitor students’ comprehension
      • Restates the lesson ideas one final time in a simple easily understood summary
      • Focuses on standards-based content
      ACCESS Science Look and Read

      Develop Language

      • Teaches students skills they need to achieve communicative proficiency and to produce authentic language
      • Uses academic language needed for critical thinking and high-stakes tests
      • Illustrates how to organize ideas using helpful graphic organizers
      • Differentiates activities for beginning and intermediate/advanced English language learners
      • Provides activities that build language development and give students the opportunity to practice new skills together
      • Highlights a different aspect of English in each lesson through Grammar Spotlights
      • Engages students through interactive practice and builds communication skills through Oral Language, Partner Practice, and Hands-on Activities
      ACCESS Science

      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
      ACCESS Science Featires

      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.

      ACCESS Science
    • 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.
    • Best Practices for English Language Learners

      1. An introductory photo helps students connect to the lesson and build background and language.

      ACCESS Science

      2. A Big Idea is taught in every lesson.

      ACCESS Science

      3. Key Concepts establish academic vocabulary and break down the fundamental concepts of each lesson.

      ACCESS Science

      4. Content is continuously reinforced with strong visual presentations.

      ACCESS Science

      5. Talk and Share activities promote oral language development and help teachers monitor comprehension.

      ACCESS Science

      6. Vocabulary support is given throughout each lesson and in a comprehensive glossary.

      ACCESS Science

      7. Language Notes teach and help clarify difficult aspects of the English language.

      ACCESS Science

      8. Develop Language activities build students’ communicative abilities and academic vocabulary for high-stakes tests.

      ACCESS Science

      9. Ongoing consistent instruction in grammar helps students make progress in understanding English.

      ACCESS Science

      10. Activities promote oral communication and increase the amount of time students are producing and practicing language.

      ACCESS Science

      ACCESS gives English language learners the tools they need to develop literacy and build content knowledge in all their school subjects.

  • 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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