Teaching ELL Students in an ELA Classroom: Edgar Allan Poe in Espanol

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved my students. Many had wronged me. Many had given me insult. For their praise I had no desire. I think it was their future! yes, it was this! They had the future of a vulture –a pale blue future, with a film over it. Whenever I thought about it, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees –very gradually –I made up my mind to teach all my students, even the English Language Learners and thus rid them of a bleak future forever.

I have a confession. I may have underserved the ELL population at my school. I did not realize how much more difficult school was for English language learners. Then a funny thing happened. I moved to Central America for a teaching adventure. And as all good teachers know, we learn more from teaching than any student does. Although we could have enrolled our children—all 5 of them—in an English speaking school, we chose to give them an authentic Costa Rican experience by enrolling them in a Costa Rican public school.

Did I mention my children did not speak Spanish?

Because nothing they did at their school would ever show up on a college transcript, we told them not to worry about grades. Just worry about learning Spanish and making friends (my wife and I took care of their core subjects at home).

Do you have any idea how hard it is to send your kids to school even though they don’t speak the language? Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to find a teacher or an administrator who speaks the language and is willing to help? Or who doesn’t speak the language and willingly helps?

You can be that teacher for an English Language Learner in your class. And it’s not even that hard. If you know you’re going to read a story in class, especially one that’s difficult, why not provide your English Language Learners an opportunity to read it or listen to it before they come to class? That way they understand the basics of the story and can follow along as it’s read in English.

To help you, I’ve found audio recordings of Edgar Allan Poe short stories in Spanish on YouTube. Why not download a couple and help your students copy them on to a listening device. Just a thought.

Or maybe you teach Spanish and discover your students are about to begin an Edgar Allan Poe unit.

Edgar Allan Poe Short Stories in Spanish

El Corazón Delator (The Tell-Tale Heart)

Check out “The Tell-Tale Heart” teaching guide, full of great handouts, lesson plans, and graphic organizers.


“El Gato Negro” (The Black Cat)

Check out “The Black Cat” Teaching Guide, full of great handouts, lesson plans, and graphic organizers.


“El Barril de Amontillado” (The Cask of Amontillado)

Check out “The Cask of Amontillado” Teaching Guide, full of great handouts, lesson plans, and graphic organizers.


“El Pozo Y El Péndulo” (The Pit and the Pendulum)

Check out “The Pit and the Pendulum” Teaching Guide, full of great handouts, lesson plans, and graphic organizers.


“La Caida de la Casa Usher” (The Fall of the House of Usher)

Check out “The Fall of the House of Usher” Teaching Guide, full of great handouts, lesson plans, and graphic organizers.

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