Supporting the Development of English Literacy in English Language Learners

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SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENGLISH LITERACY IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS Key Issues and Promising Practices

Diane August August & Associates

Report No. 61

February 2003

This report was published by the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR), a national research and development center supported by a grant (No. R-117-D40005) from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education. The content or opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education or any other agency of the U.S. Government. Reports are available from: Publications Department, CRESPAR/Johns Hopkins University; 3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 200; Baltimore MD 21218. An on-line version of this report is available at our web site: www.csos.jhu.edu. Copyright 2003, The Johns Hopkins University, all rights reserved.

THE CENTER
Every child has the capacity to succeed in school and in life. Yet far too many children fail to meet their potential. Many students, especially those from poor and minority families, are placed at risk by school practices that sort some students into high-quality programs and other students into low-quality education. CRESPAR believes that schools must replace the “sorting paradigm” with a “talent development” model that sets high expectations for all students, and ensures that all students receive a rich and demanding curriculum with appropriate assistance and support. The mission of the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR) is to conduct the research, development, evaluation, and dissemination needed to transform schooling for students placed at risk. The work of the Center is guided by three central themes—ensuring the success of all students at key development points, building on students’ personal and cultural assets, and scaling up effective programs—and conducted through research and development programs in the areas of early and elementary studies; middle and high school studies; school, family, and community partnerships; and systemic supports for school reform, as well as a program of institutional activities. CRESPAR is organized as a partnership of Johns Hopkins University and Howard University, and supported by the National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students (AtRisk Institute), one of five institutes created by the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination and Improvement Act of 1994 and located within the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) at the U.S. Department of Education. The At-Risk Institute supports a range of research and development activities designed to improve the education of students at risk of educational failure because of limited English proficiency, poverty, race, geographic location, or economic disadvantage.

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ABSTRACT
The purpose of this report is to summarize research on the role of English oral proficiency in acquiring English literacy, describe the issues that English-language learners (ELLs) encounter because of their developing English oral proficiency, and report on best practices in supporting English language development in the context of literacy instruction for these students. Of primary interest in this report is the vast majority of ELLs who are not learningdisabled, but require time to become English proficient. Further, this report focuses on school-aged children. To a large extent, the studies cited here are drawn from research conducted with children who are learning English as a second language where English is the societal language. The report first addresses the relationship between oral language proficiency and literacy and reported on a review of second language instruction. Then, component by component, it describes in detail what the research tells us about effective literacy instruction for English-speaking students, the issues that English language learners face, and...
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