Training Options for Schools

Training Options

ELTS is the exclusive provider for Color Vowel® Chart and Color Vowel® Approach training and professional development. We provide on-site training for K-12 educators, Adult Education instructors, and ESL faculty at colleges and universities.

ELTS provides cutting-edge professional development across the U.S. and around the world. We empower schools and teachers with strategies and tools for improving literacy for children, adults, and communities.

Our workshops are research-based and are customized to address your school’s professional development priorities. Unique to our workshops is an emphasis on teacher phonological awareness, which we consider critical to the effective teaching of spoken English, basic and academic vocabulary, literacy, reading, and writing.

Our K-12 professional development workshops are standards-based, directly addressing Common Core State Standards and meeting eligibility for Title 1 and Title 3 education grants.

OPTION 1:  On-site Professional Development

Our dynamic full-day and half-day workshops prepare educators to use the Color Vowel Approach with English language learners of all ages. Our customized workshops address the particular needs of your program, such as:

  • Providing newcomers with meaningful first steps for English language acquisition, classroom participation, and life-long learning
  • Adapting your school’s existing curriculum to reach and teach English learners
  • Training school staff and faculty with strategies that help ensure positive interaction in a diverse community of English speakers and learners
  • Engaging parents and the community to support English learning success

Lead time: Schedule a training with ELTS at least 8 weeks in advance, or at least 4 weeks in advance if the training is located in the Washington DC metro area. Travel and lodging costs are not included in the training cost and are calculated on a case-by-case basis.

To schedule on-site professional development, complete the form below. 


OPTION 2: Live Webinars for your faculty

ELTS delivers online workshops for school faculty. We will work with you to develop a training plan that makes the best of your time and funding. To schedule a webinar, complete the form below.

OPTION 3: Send one or more teacher to an ELTS workshop

ELTS offers workshops in the Washington DC and other major U.S. cities. View our Workshops page.


“The Color Vowel Chart team delivered an amazing 6-hour training for our adult ESOL teachers, all of whom are part-time and have varying degrees of knowledge and experience with the type of linguistic theory and elements that are the underpinnings of the approach. Of course good professional development starts with the soundness and usefulness of the approach and the tools being presented, and the Color Vowel Chart definitely qualifies there. But the excellence of the training truly ensures teachers’ confidence in it and their ultimate success in using it with students. During the training, our teachers were engaged, excited, motivated and experiencing lots of “a-ha” moments through the series of presentations and activities that Karen and Shirley had organized. The information conveyed was clear, vivid and always supported by a hands-on experience or demonstration. They had ample time to practice using the tools and clarifying their understanding. Everyone who participated was not only motivated but truly equipped to start using the Color Vowel Chart the next day with their students. Thank you, Color Vowel Chart team!”

MaryAnn Cunningham Florez
Program Manager, Adult ESOL
Adult and Continuing Education
Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

To receive more information about our custom training options, complete the form below.

I am a
I am contacting you because:
Tell us more specifically what's on your mind.

Our professional development clients include:

  • Arlington Education & Employment Center (VA)
  • Carlos Rosario International Charter School, Washington DC
  • Christina School District (K-12) (DE)
  • District of Columbia Public Schools (K-12) (DC)
  • E.L. Haynes Public Charter School (K-12) (DC)
  • El Instituto Culturál Peruano Norteamericano (K-Adult) (Huancayo, Peru)
  • Fairfax County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education (VA)
  • Intercambio Uniting Communities (CO)
  • Kaplan International (DC)
  • LADO International Institute (DC)
  • La Mariposa Montessori School (NM)
  • Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe (NM)
  • Mason Crest Elementary School (VA)
  • Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MD)
  • Montgomery College ESL Program (MD)

What Our Clients Say About Us

“We saw that teachers love using the Color Vowel Chart, so Intercambio now includes it in all curriculum we produce. For many English learners here, the CVC has led to life-changing breakthroughs around pronunciation! ”
Lee Shainis, Founder • Intercambio Uniting Communities • Boulder (CO)
“The Color Vowel System is such a fundamentally innovative and effective methodology that we built our company, Blue Canoe Learning, on it. We digitize it, scale it with speech recognition and machine learning, and create games and activities using it. Now anyone with a smart phone can play the Blue Canoe app and leverage the Color Vowel System to improve their English pronunciation and ability to communicate effectively. We are making such a wonderful impact on people’s lives, and ELTS and Color Vowel are an integral part of why we are successful!”
Sarah Daniels, CEO of Blue Canoe
“I find the way the elements of your training sessions weave themselves together genuinely elegant. It isn't just a "bag of tricks to deal with different problems" … there’s a sense of integrality and completeness in what you have developed overall.”
Brock Brady, U.S. Peace Corps Specialist (Washington DC)
“I can't thank you enough for an amazing experience [at Color Vowel Basics] this weekend. The Color Vowel Approach provides the strategy and structure I was looking for on behalf of my students. I can't wait to begin sharing it with them [next week]. The work you have done is truly remarkable. It's true that simplicity lies at the far side of complexity.
Amy Reavey, Literacy Volunteer (NJ)
“I love using the Color Vowel Chart because it works! Student feedback on the system is so positive. I have students who tell me how helpful it has been not only for pronunciation, but also for spelling, specifically for students for whom the Roman alphabet is new. English spelling and pronunciation is challenging, and I am so thankful to have this resource!”
Vanessa S. ESL Teacher, WA
“I feel like I took a quantum leap in my quest to learn the English language after I attended your class today!”
Ricardo Castaño, ESL Volunteer Tutor, Maryland
“One of the best workshops I have attended. [Shirley and Karen] achieved an excellent balance between structure and achieving workshop objectives, staying flexible and incorporating participant contributions and concerns. They modeled good teaching/facilitating and helped participants feel comfortable immediately.”
TESOL PCI Participant, New Orleans (2011)
“I don’t think I’ve ever been with a more skillful presenter [in Karen Taylor]. It was like watching a high-wire artist, but with NO misgivings: you know she’s totally secure up there. We were in the palm of her hand!”
Laurel Pollard, Author of "Zero Prep" and "Wow!"
“Interesting, fun, and I met people I look forward to keeping in touch with. So many 'Ah ha!' moments. Loved it.”
TESOL PCI Participant, Toronto (2015)
“Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! I want you to come to [our school] and do Professional Development!”
TESOL PCI Participant, Toronto (2015)
“When I learned about it, I sensed that The Color Vowel Chart would be a great autonomous learning tool for students of English pronunciation, but I didn't realize that so many English teachers in Central America would agree with me. When I presented it at local TESOL Conferences, everyone pulled out their phones to take pictures of the chart and the activities we were doing in groups. There was even applause on one occasion when I told them that there are free activities they can download from the website.”
Rebecca Wilner, ESL Specialist, Washington DC
“The Color Vowel Chart allows my actor, broadcaster and executive clients to instantly see the color of the sound they are mispronouncing or mixing. The visual cuing speeds up the recognition time of the sounds! I think the Color Vowel Chart is the most brilliant thing I have ever seen. It has really changed the way we work at the Speech and Accent Academy!”
Lisa Jeffries, Executive Speech Coach (FL)
“I've used the Color Vowel Chart extensively, from tutoring individuals privately to teaching classes of International Teaching Assistants. This chart gets around the difficulty students have in hearing non-native vowel sounds (what good is it to distinguish, say, "bed" from "bead" when, to a student, both vowels sound the same?). The Color Vowel Chart lets students see the sounds instead. So even though students might not be able to hear the difference between "bed" and "bead", they can certainly recognize the difference between the colors RED and GREEN. Using this language of colors allows me to convey sounds to students without their having to hear them. Students learn to produce the sounds of the colors before their ears actually recognize the differences in vowel sounds. In this way, the Color Vowel Chart scaffolds the process of acquiring non-native phonological features.”
Charles Duquette, Maryland English Institute
“Who doesn’t love card games? My middle school students find Color it out! extremely engaging and I find it a powerful tool to introduce and review complicated sounds and spellings in English. In fact, I used Color it out! to introduce my students to the Color Vowel Chart before ever "teaching" them about it. I found it a very natural point of entry for the Chart. Since then, we have been exploring additional ways to use the Color it out! cards, such as Dominoes and Go Fish. A fantastic, fun, and very powerful resource!”
Michael Connors, E.L. Haynes Middle School, Washington DC
“Shirley is one of the most excellent teacher/speakers around. Always fun and entertaining, but mostly wonderfully comprehensive.”
Jody Gabler, ESL Teacher
“One of my favorite things about the [Color Vowel] Chart is the way that it visually brings attention to the differences among the English vowels--differences that students may not be able to hear. I also like how the Chart has allowed me to incorporate pronunciation into other aspects of my classes. While students are working together on any task, if I hear a major pronunciation problem I can say, "change your vowel from 'blue' to 'mustard' for that word," and the student is usually able to improve her pronunciation.”
Jody Gabler, ESL Teacher (NY)
“This training was phenomenal. I learned an innovative but easy way to teach students about the many different sounds that vowels can make. The Color Vowel Chart is easy to learn and uses the different modalities of learning to reach every type of learner.”
K-12 ESL Teacher, Pueblo City Schools (CO)
“Wonderful session. Stellar presenters. Great activities. Best session I've been to. They were on fi-yur!”
TESOL PCI Participant, Toronto (2015)

Upcoming Events

Join Dr. Robin Barr, Linguist in Residence at American University and budding online teacher who has been leveraging the convenience of Zoom’s ‘breakout rooms’ to teach linguistics.

Robin will demonstrate the use of breakout rooms by putting us, the live participants, into groups. Don’t miss what she has in store for us!

In this intensive course for certified Level 1 Color Vowel Trained teachers, participants will learn to lead and create rhythmic chants. A practicum option provides participants with the opportunity to lead chants and provide learners with feedback with the support of a mentor.

In this intensive, 5-session course, participants will engage in a series of brain-based English pronunciation exercises that build awareness of the sounds and rhythms of English for the purpose of being more effective English teachers. Complementing the live 90-minute sessions, participants will complete video homework and receive pronunciation coaching and feedback from Color Vowel® trained instructors. This course is designed for English teachers who are themselves non-native speakers of English and who wish to improve their pronunciation confidence.

From the Blog
July 21, 2018
Summer Resolutions and My Color Vowel Life

Not long ago, I bought my planner for the 2018-19 school year…

February 15, 2018
A Colorful Approach to Spelling

Mention spelling to just about anyone, and they will likely bemoan the…

February 13, 2018
What Color Do You Hear?

The idea of ‘hearing’ a color — or coloring a sound, for…

Subscribe to Our Mailing List Today!

Follow Us on Social Media

© ELTS Solutions. Color Vowel® is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.