Supporting Multilingual Learners with Wit & Wisdom

At Great Minds®, we believe that all students are capable of greatness. We know that equitable instruction means equipping every learner, especially diverse learners, with the tools they need for academic success. Wit & Wisdom® lessons engage all students and address individual needs, such as those of students reading below grade level and multilingual learners, to help students achieve grade-level success. Our learning design includes multiple entry points to new topics while honoring the unique lived experiences and funds of knowledge multilingual learners bring to the classroom.

Preview our range of supports for students as well as instructional guidance for educators below or connect with an expert to learn more.


Wit & Wisdom book cover

Learning Design Rooted in Research

Wit & Wisdom
’s approach of providing the same rigorous content and skills practice for all students—including English learners—is critical to their future success. The structures and routines of the curriculum provide 10 rungs of the ladder that students climb to achieve thorough comprehension of complex texts, language, and the ideas they’re introduced to.

1. Deliberate sequencing
Texts and activities are purposefully sequenced to build students’ knowledge of module topics in literature, science, history/social studies, and the arts as well as their skills with reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing.

2. Predictable structures
The recurring Content Stages (that scaffold close reading) and Craft Stages (that scaffold the writing process) help students develop transferable habits of mind.

3. Focus on vocabulary and syntax
In the 15-minute Deep Dives that follow each core lesson, students study vocabulary and grammar in the context of the module texts.

4. Content in multiple forms
Students explore print, visuals (art, photographs, maps, videos, and more), and audio to access module concepts and information.

5. Ongoing, sequential, explicit writing instruction
Students learn to write and write to learn every day in Wit & Wisdom.

6. Authentic opportunities for collaboration
Wit & Wisdom includes daily opportunities for collaboration and explicitly teaches speaking and listening skills.

7. Varied instructional routines and approaches
Teachers use varied instructional routines, such as visual graphic organizers and collaborative Think–Pair–Share activities and creative Readers’ Theater performances, to support students in understanding content and building literacy skills.

8. Scaffolds, extensions, and suggestions for differentiation
Lessons include frequent suggestions for scaffolding, extending, and differentiating instruction.

9. Help for students to organize their thinking
Individual consumable Student Editions and journals are set up for written responses and reflection.

10. Student choice
The Volume of Reading text lists offer additional optional texts at varied reading levels so students can continue to explore topics of interest from the module.

Supporting Multilingual Learners in Grades K–5

Wit & Wisdom Multilingual Learner Resource Grade 1 Cover

We know that many teachers need additional, targeted scaffolds to support multilingual learners. That’s why we created research-aligned resources that ensure all students have the same access to high-quality grade-level materials as their peers. 

Our new Multilingual Learner Resources put the spotlight on existing lesson elements that specifically benefit multilingual learners in addition to providing lesson-specific supports for reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening instruction.

The Multilingual Learner Resources for Grades K–5 include

  • a Multilingual Learner Resource Module Map, which lists the lessons and their supports in module sequence;
  • an overview of module learning alignment to World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) and English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards; and
  • targeted reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening supports for specific lessons.

Supporting Multilingual Learners in Grades 6–8

Wit & Wisdom Prologue Grade 8

Our new Wit & Wisdom PrologueTM resource supplements Wit & Wisdom instruction for Grades 6–8 multilingual learners. Prologue ensures that multilingual learners have the same access to high-quality grade-level materials that their peers have by allowing them to preview upcoming content in a Wit & Wisdom lesson as they develop and strengthen their knowledge of oral language, vocabulary, and syntax. Prologue is also effective for students with language-based disabilities who need support in language development with explicit vocabulary and syntax instruction. These two groups of students have many distinct needs, but Prologue focuses on instructional practices that research has shown benefit both groups.

Look Inside a Lesson

Every Prologue user will receive

  • twelve lesson plans spread out through each module,
  • one Teacher Guide per grade,
  • downloadable handouts and answer keys,
  • a glossary available in English or English/Spanish, and
  • free, on-demand training resources to support implementation

What do quality multilingual learner supports look like?

Our High-Quality Instructional Materials (HQIM) ensure that multilingual learners are engaged in grade-level content. We collaborated with the English Learners Success Forum (ELSF) to highlight select Wit & Wisdom lessons that exemplify how scaffolds and supports considerate of English learners can be embedded in all curricular materials.

Review the Annotated Wit & Wisdom Lessons
ELA-Multilingual Learners

For Families

Wit & Wisdom supports engagement with families and caregivers by providing Family Tip Sheets for each module. The Family Tip Sheets include the following:

  • An overview of what students will learn in the module
  • The core texts students will read
  • Resources for families including Family Tips Sheets, welcome letters, and multilingual glossaries
  • The Essential Question and Focusing Questions guiding each module
  • A list of books families can read together at home
  • Questions families can discuss with students at home
  • Ideas for what families can do together to explore the module’s content at home

Family Tip Sheets are available in multiple languages, including Spanish.

For Educators

How To Make English Language Arts Accessible for Multilingual Learners

All students, including multilingual learners, deserve a powerful English language arts curriculum. Read more to learn how carefully curated texts and the inclusion of fine art make Wit & Wisdom accessible for all learners.

Read the Article

Supporting Multilingual Learners Across Our Curricula

Learn from our teacher–writers and implementation support specialists about how our curricula are designed to help multilingual students thrive.

Read the Article

Why We Need Biliteracy Programs Now More Than Ever

Learn why biliteracy education is more important than ever, given the rising concern that the pandemic might further hinder bilingual students in staying on grade-level with their peers.

Read the Article

More to Watch and Listen

Great Minds Girl Thinking-2

Helping English Learners Find Their Voice

English learners are a growing part of the student population nationwide. As educators, we strive to teach these students to speak, listen, read, and write English as effectively and quickly as possible. Even for the most experienced educators, this work can be a challenge.

The good news is that there are many ways to ensure that English learners are engaged and participating. By involving them in conversations about texts and topics they care about, we open the door for English learners to develop their speaking, listening, grammar, vocabulary, and content knowledge simultaneously. Watch the webinar below to learn how to effectively scaffold and support English learners in accessing complex, knowledge-building texts that develop literacy and language skills.

Great Minds Students with Masks

HQIM as Equity for English Learners with ELSF Executive Director Crystal Gonzales

Crystal Gonzales is the Executive Director at English Learners Success Forum and believes that HQIM are the first step to provide equity for all learners, especially English Learners. Tune in as Melissa and Lori talk with Crystal about the impact of leveled reading on English Learners, and share excerpts from this resource: Do Leveled Readers Hurt or Help My ELs? Crystal shares the impact of HQIM on English Learners through annotated lessons, such as these lessons from Wit & Wisdom ELA.

Wit & Wisdom - Book-Jacques Cousteau

Knowledge Building for Long-Term Success

Great Minds sits at the heart of the high-quality curriculum movement and embraces the research that knowledge building should start at the outset of a student’s education. But what does that look like in math, science, and literacy? And what tools do teachers need to ensure that students receive instruction that broadens their knowledge base beyond their immediate experiences? Learn how knowledge-building curricula are critical to student learning yet largely lacking in the marketplace—and why educators are working to change the status quo.


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