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Developing Literacy in English- language Learners: Key Issues and Promising Practices Diane August David Francis Claude Goldenberg Timothy Shanahan.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing Literacy in English- language Learners: Key Issues and Promising Practices Diane August David Francis Claude Goldenberg Timothy Shanahan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing Literacy in English- language Learners: Key Issues and Promising Practices Diane August David Francis Claude Goldenberg Timothy Shanahan

2 Focus of Talk Importance of Addressing English-language learner issues Five Essential Components of Literacy Three frames of reference Issues for ELLS Effective practice Assessment Three-tiers of instruction Oral language development

3 Preface From 1990 to 2000, the number of immigrant children in the US increased dramatically. In 2000-2001, an estimated 4.6 million English-language learners were enrolled in public schools, representing approximately 9.6% of the total school enrollment, pre- kindergarten through Grade 12. English-language learners lag significantly behind their English-proficient peers in reading. There are serious consequences for adults who are limited- English proficient

4 Five Components of Literacy The same five components as those identified by the National Reading Panel and required by Reading First are important determinants of literacy achievement for ELLs However, there are adjustments to instruction that are necessary to help ELLs achieve to high standards In addition, ELLs need oral language development appropriate for second language learners

5 Nature of the Research Evidence for ELLs Whereas research on the development of literacy in English-only speakers is quite extensive, research for ELLs is much more limited in quantity (1/25) is mostly descriptive in nature and less focused on testing the effectiveness of instructional approaches and interventions Additional research is needed both to replicate established findings and to sort out if there are other special routines or emphases that are needed for teaching specific types of ELL students

6 Three Frames of Reference in the Development of Literacy for ELLs Language of instruction Need for multiple models Socio-cultural factors Pedagogical and curricular considerations Child academic achievement and language proficiency levels call for differentiated instruction

7 Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: Issues for ELLs Specific sounds and sound placement in words differ for different languages Phonological tasks with unknown words are more difficult For ELLs, unfamiliar phonemes and graphemes make decoding and spelling difficult For literate ELLs, English graphemes have different sounds in L1 Limited English proficiency prevents children from using word meaning to figure out how to read a word

8 Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: Research and Instruction Findings are consistent with the very solid L1 research findings: both phonemic awareness and phonics instruction confer clear benefits on children’s reading development. There is no evidence that phonemic awareness and phonics instruction in English needs to be delayed until a certain threshold of English oral language proficiency is attained. Important to keep in mind issues raised in previous slide Helping students hear English sounds that don’t exist or are not salient in their home language is beneficial.

9 Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: Assessment Same tasks (for example, blending) can be used to assess phonological awareness for both groups However, items need to be carefully considered Important that students understand the instructions Pronunciation differences should not be counted as incorrect It is important to assess speed of word recognition as well as accuracy

10 Fluency: Issues for ELLs Fluency embraces both word recognition and comprehension ELLs often have less opportunity to read aloud in English with feedback

11 Fluency: Research and Instruction Too few studies of teaching oral reading fluency with ELLs to draw firm conclusions Fluency is an important factor in comprehension and comprehension training influences fluency Fluency training similarly benefits ELLs and English- speaking students Existing studies have used good English models and paired ELLs with proficient English readers

12 Fluency: Assessment We don’t know to what extent the benchmarks used for English-speaking students are appropriate benchmarks for ELLs However, studies indicate, with appropriate intervention, ELLs can meet benchmarks for English speakers.

13 Vocabulary: Issues ELLS arrive at school with a much more limited English vocabulary than English-speaking students There are many basic words that English-speaking students know that ELLs do not ELLs may lack labels in English for concepts they know and have labels for in their first language ELLs and English speakers may have different concepts for the same label.

14 Vocabulary: Issues (cont.) There is some English vocabulary that may be especially important in comprehending connected text—cohesion markers for example—that necessitates explicit instruction ELLs literate in a first language that has many cognates with English have an important resource Words with multiple meanings can be a source of confusion

15 Vocabulary: Research and Instruction Must attend to vocabulary from the earliest grades Some incidental learning improves vocabulary Structured incidental learning Intentional learning improves vocabulary Very few empirical studies in either area

16 Vocabulary: Assessment Currently there is no identified corpus of words whose particular meanings children need to know at different ages Therefore we suggest the assessment of vocabulary should be curriculum based It is important to assess depth of word meaning

17 Comprehension: Issues for ELLs Limited word recognition skills and fluency impede comprehension Limited vocabulary impedes comprehension Structural differences between languages can mislead ELLs Text structures vary across cultures and this may influence comprehension Culture influences, but does not completely determine, background knowledge

18 Comprehension: Research and Instruction Effective practices for English-language learners build on effective practices for English-only students Modifications that take into consideration the strengths and needs of ELLs are important Very few empirical studies focus on comprehension and ELLs

19 Comprehension: Assessment Most comprehension assessments don’t isolate the reasons for comprehension failures (decoding, vocabulary, background knowledge, inferential ability) As such they do not provide guidance for instruction

20 Three Tiers of Instruction The three tier model of delivering instruction is beneficial for ELLs as it is for English- speaking students. As for English-speaking students, it is important to constantly monitor the progress of ELLs and to provide additional support in targeted areas.

21 Language Proficiency It is important to build language proficiency in ELLs This can’t be separated from the 90 minute reading block Additional time is probably necessary and embedding this instruction in content enhances both content knowledge and language

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