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Investigating the Second Language Reader with Low Native Language Literacy Dr. Elaine C. Klein and Dr. Gita Martohardjono Research Institute for the Study.

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Presentation on theme: "Investigating the Second Language Reader with Low Native Language Literacy Dr. Elaine C. Klein and Dr. Gita Martohardjono Research Institute for the Study."— Presentation transcript:

1 Investigating the Second Language Reader with Low Native Language Literacy Dr. Elaine C. Klein and Dr. Gita Martohardjono Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS) The CUNY Graduate Center AAAL, Washington, D.C, March 29, 2008

2 2 The Questions In young readers, native language (L1) pre- literacy and word level reading skills transfer to the second language (L2). How does reading develop among older at- risk L2 learners (SIFE)?  Higher level reading skills?  Transfer of skills?

3 3 Who are SIFE? ‘SIFE’ (‘Newcomers’), a subgroup of ELLs:  Recently arrived adolescent students  Little or no English  Assumed to have: - Low literacy and academic preparation - Gaps in prior schooling (+2 yrs)

4 4 Research on adolescent L2 readers  Overlooked and underserved  Very high drop-out rates  Few appropriate assessment tools for identification and tracking  Need for more systematic research (e.g. Velasco & Fix 2000; Short, Boyston & Coltrane 2003; Freeman, Freeman & Mercuri 2003; Morse 2005; August & Shanahan 2006; Short & Fitzsimmons 2007)

5 5 Some Facts about SIFE in NYC Schools *  About 15,000 SIFE comprise 11% of ELLs  Most enter 8 th- 10 th grades  59% have Spanish native language  Graduation rates far lower than other ELLs * Bilingual Education Student Information Survey (BESIS) : NYC DOE Office of English Language Learners, 2007.

6 6 SIFE Profile and Progress  What academic skills do SIFE bring to school in the US?  How do SIFE compare to their peer groups?  What academic skills do SIFE gain over one year (T1  T2)?

7 7 The SIFE Project In Progress 18 month Longitudinal Study Participants:  98 students identified as SIFE  9 th and 10 th grade  Native language: SpanishSchools:  5 inner-city high schools in NYC  Various program types  Native language support

8 8 Data Collection Measures of typical language development:  Versant (Oral Spanish and English)  Syntactic development (Spanish and English) Academic literacy diagnostics:  Reading and content areas (Spanish and English)  Benchmark assessments (State and city- mandated tests)

9 9 Results: Typical L1 Development  Versant: oral vocabulary, sentence mastery, fluency Overall Mean % Correct = 79, SD = 16  Syntactic comprehension: Overall Mean % Correct = 89, SD = 12

10 10 Academic Literacy Diagnostics  Pre- and Basic Literacy  Higher-Level Literacy - Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension  Content Areas - Math - Science - Social Science

11 11 Results: Pre- and Basic Literacy  Phonological & Orthographic Awareness  Word Reading  Simple Sentence Comprehension Mean % Correct = 96, SD = 4.5

12 12 Results: L1 Reading Vocabulary

13 13 Results: L1 Reading Comprehension

14 14 Difference Between L1 Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension (at T1) Vocabulary Reading Comprehension Mean % Correct 66%56% Mean Grade Level 53.7 (sig; t(97) = 5.5, p <.001)

15 15 Results: Academic Content Areas  Math: Majority at/below grade 3  Science: Majority at/below grade 4  Social Science: Majority at/below grade 4

16 16 What skills do SIFE bring?  Show typical language development: - Oral language, syntactic comprehension  Have basic reading skills  Show delay in: - Higher level reading skills: (4+ grade levels below expected grade) - Content Area Knowledge: (5+ grade levels below expected grade)

17 17 Comparison Groups Native English Speaker Groups:  9th and 10th Graders  Community College West Indian English speakers Regular ELL Group:  9th-12th Graders Spanish-English Community College Group:  Did not meet minimum English language requirements  Currently taking ESL classes 

18 18 Comparison Between Native English Speakers and SIFE Mean Grade Level Scores on Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension

19 19 Progress in One Year (N=23)  Academic gains in L1 skills  L2 English development

20 20 Academic Gains: L1 Vocabulary Percent Correct at each Grade Level Time 1 and Time 2 N=23

21 21 Academic Gains: L1 Reading Comprehension Percent Correct at each Grade Level Time 1 and Time 2 N=23

22 22 Difference Between L1 Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension (at T2) t(22) = 2.9; p <.01 Vocabulary Reading Comprehension Mean Grade Level

23 23 A Closer Look at Reading Comprehension Basic Understanding (24%):  Recall factual information  Identify relevance Text Level Skills (76%):  Inferencing  Interpretation  Critical Analysis

24 24 L1 Grade 5 Text Level Skills Text Level Skills Mean % Correct Time 1 49% Mean % Correct Time 2 57%

25 25 L2 English Development After 1 year: Oral Language:  Overall: Very limited speaking and listening skills  Vocabulary: Basic; slow, simple speech Syntactic Comprehension:  Mean percent correct = 58% Benchmark ESL Reading Test:  Approximate Grade Level Score = 3rd to 4th Grade

26 26 Summary of SIFE Progress In one year:  Significant gains in L1 reading skills  Modest gains in L2 English skills  Gap between L1 vocabulary and reading comprehension persists  Lowest performance still on L1 text level reading skills

27 27 Transfer of Skills Native Language (T1) Vocabulary = 4.7 Reading Comprehension = 3.6 English L2 (T2) Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension approximate grade level = 3-4 Higher level reading skills transfer from L1 to L2.

28 28 Summary and Conclusions SIFE  Do not have L1 developmental delays in oral language or word-level reading  Lag in knowledge base in L1  Lag in higher-level reading  Most severely in text level reading  Transfer reading skills from L1 to L2  Accelerate development of these skills in L1.

29 THANK YOU!

30 30 Acknowledgements  NYC Department of Education  Participating schools and SIFE liaisons  Participating community colleges  All participants and teachers  RISLUS Research Team


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