Reading and Second Language Learners



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Glossary


Additive bilingulism: Developing a learner's proficiency in a second language with no pressure to replace, or reduce the importance of, the first language.

Affective filter: A filter governing how much input is received by the mechanism that processes language. The lower the filter the more open a student will be to acquiring new language (Dulay & Burt, 1977).

Age of arrival: The age at which a language-minority student was first enrolled into a formal educational program in the United States.

Alphabetic principle: The idea that written spellings systematically represent spoken words.

Attitude: An individual’s reaction toward something based on that individual's beliefs or opinions.

Basic interpersonal communication skills: The aspects of language proficiency strongly associated with basic fluency in face-to-face interaction.

Beaders: Second-language learners who learn words incrementally and embrace a gradual process of language learning. These learners do not produce language until they understand the meaning of individual words. Initially, they will identify objects and learn nouns before learning verbs. For these learners, complete comprehension of a word is attained before it becomes part of their vocabulary (Ventriglia, 1982).

Beading: A second-language learning style characterized by the incremental learning of words (Ventriglia, 1982).

BICS: See "Basic interpersonal communication skills."

Bilingual education: A term that is broadly inclusive of any educational program in which two languages are used for instruction.

Braiders: Second-language learners who easily produce sentences in the early stages of language learning. For these learners, oral production, learned through interaction with native speakers, is of greater importance than the need to comprehend the meaning of individual words. These learners are eager to try out newly acquired language skills (Ventriglia, 1982).

Braiding: A second-language learning style characterized by the early production of sentences (Ventriglia, 1982).

CALP: See "Cognitive academic language proficiency."

Cognitive academic language proficiency: The aspects of language strongly associated with literacy and academic achievement.

Comprehensible input: The amount of new language, either written or heard, that a learner is exposed to and understands.

Concurrent translation: A method of bilingual instruction in which students are provided with a sentence-by-sentence translation of lessons from English into the students' native language.

Content-based ESL: A form of ESL that provides students with instruction that is structured around academic content rather than general English-language skills.

Cooperation versus individualism: A learning style typology that categorizes students according to whether they work best collaboratively or do best in more competitive settings (Scarcella, 1990).

Creative construction: The ability of children to extract the grammar of a language from a string of unfamiliar words and produce structures that they have not been taught

Crisscrossers: Second-language learners who are spontaneous, adaptable and creative. They have a positive attitude toward both the first and second languages, and are comfortable navigating back and forth between the two. These learners embrace a bicultural identity (Ventriglia, 1982).

Crisscrossing: The motivational style of second-language learners who identify with both the first and second cultures (Ventriglia, 1982).

Critical period: A theory of first-language acquisition according to which the human brain, during a period extending from birth to the onset of puberty, shows the plasticity which allows the child to acquire his or her first language.

Crossing over: The motivational style of second-language learners who identify with the second culture (Ventriglia, 1982).

Crossovers: Flexible and independent second-language learners who are willing to take chances. These learners view second language identification as a positive way to adapt to the school setting. They may temporarily move closer to their English speaking peers, embracing this new identity (Ventriglia, 1982).

Crystallizers: Cautious second-language learners who display a passive attitude toward second-language learning. They are listeners, and long periods of silence are not unusual for them. These learners will verbalize only when they have perfected their comprehension. They initially reject the second language and do not interact socially with English speakers or identify with them (Ventriglia, 1982).

Crystallizing: The motivational style of second-language learners who maintain their identity with their first-language culture (Ventriglia, 1982).

Decoding: The aspect of the reading process that involves “sounding out” a printed sequence of letters based on knowledge of letter-sound corre­spondences.

Early-exit bilingual education: A program model in which, initially, half the day's instruction is provided through English and half through students' native language. This is followed by a gradual transition to all-English instruction that is completed in approximately 2-3 years. This program model is alternately termed transitional bilingual education.

ELL: See "English-language learner."

English as a second language: A method for teaching English to speakers of other languages in which English is the medium of instruction.

English-language learner: A student in the United States who is learning English as his or her second language.

ESL: See "English as a second language."

ESL pull-out: A program model in which English-language learners attend mainstream classes, but are "pulled out" for ESL sessions designed to enhance English acquisition. Traditionally, these sessions have focused on grammar, vocabulary and communication rather than academic content areas.

Field sensitivity/field independence: A learning style typology that categorizes learners as field-sensitive or field-independent, depending on how their perceptions are affected by the surrounding environment. Field-sensitive learners enjoy working with others to achieve a common goal, and most often look to the teacher for guidance and demonstration. Field-independent learners enjoy working independently, like to compete, and ask for teacher assistance only in relation to the current task (Scarcella, 1990).

First language: The language a normal child acquires in the first few years of life. Alternately termed native language.

Global/analytic: A learning style typology that categorizes students according to which hemisphere of the brain is most utilized in language learning. Global thinking takes place in the right hemisphere, and global learners initially prefer an overall picture. Analytic thinking takes place in the left hemisphere, and analytic learners are fact oriented and learn tasks in a step-by-step fashion (Scarcella, 1990).

Home language: See "First language."

IL: See "Interlanguage."

Immersion bilingual education: A program model in which academic instruction is provided through both the first and second languages for Grades K-12. Originally developed for language-majority students in Canada, it is used as one model for two-way bilingual education in the United States.

Instrumental orientation: Reasons for learning a second language that have a pragmatic focus such as obtaining employment.

Integrative orientation: Reasons for learning a second language that reflect an interest in forming a closer liaison with the target-language community.

Interlanguage: The developing, or transitional, second-language proficiency of a second-language learner.

L1: See "First language."

L2: See "Second language."

Language-minority students: Children in grades K-12 from homes where a language other than English is spoken.

Late-exit bilingual education: A program model in which half the day's instruction is provided through students' first language and half through a second language during Grades K-6. Ideally, this type of program was planned for Grades K-12, but has rarely been implemented beyond the elementary school level in the United States. The goal of this program model is bilingualism. This program model is alternately termed maintenance bilingual education.

Learning styles: Patterns of thinking and of interacting that affect a student’s perceptions, memory and reasoning.

LEP: See "Limited-English-proficient students."

Limited-English-proficient students: Language-minority students who have difficulties in speaking, comprehending, reading or writing English that affect their school performance.

Maintenance bilingual education: See "Late-exit bilingual education."

Metacognition: Thoughts about thinking (cognition); for example, thinking about how to understand a passage.

Metalinguistic: Language or thoughts about language.

Miscue analysis: A detailed recording of errors or inaccurate attempts during reading.

Morphology: The study of the structure and form of words in language or a language, including inflection, derivation and the formation of compounds.

Motivation: The degree to which an individual strives to do something because he or she desires to and because of the pleasure and fulfillment derived from the activity.

Native language: See "First language."

NCE: See "Normal curve equivalent."

Normal curve equivalent: A unit of measurement used on norm-referenced standardized tests.

Orchestrating: A second-language learning style characterized by incremental acquisition (Ventriglia, 1982).

Orchestrators: Second-language learners who initially process language on a phonological basis and place the greatest importance on listening comprehension. These learners begin with sounds and gradually make connections between these sounds and the formation of syllables, words, phrases and sentences (Ventriglia, 1982).

Orientations: Reasons for learning a second language that may be classified as integrative (see "Integrative orientation") or instrumental (see "Instrumental orientation").

Orthography: A method of representing spoken language by letters and diacritics (i.e., spelling).

Performance-based assessment: Assessment that requires a student to construct an extended response, create a product, or perform a demonstration.

Phonemes: The speech phonological units that make a difference to meaning. Thus, the spoken word rope is comprised of three phonemes: /r/, /o/, and /p/. It differs by only one phoneme from each of the spoken words soap, rode and rip.

Phonemic awareness: The insight that every spoken word can be con­ceived as a sequence of phonemes. This awareness is key to a child's understanding of the logic of the alphabetic principle.

Phonics: Instructional practices that emphasize how spellings are related to speech sounds in systematic ways.

Phonological awareness: A more inclusive term than phonemic aware­ness, this refers to the general ability to attend to the sounds of language as distinct from meaning. Phonemic awareness generally develops through other, less subtle levels of phonological awareness.

Phonology: The study of speech structure in language (or a particular language) that includes both the patterns of basic speech units (phonemes) and the tacit rules of pronunciation.

Primary language: The language an individual is most fluent in. This is usually, though not always, an individual's first language.

Second language: A language acquired or learned simultaneously with, or after, an individual's acquisition of a first language.

Second-language acquisition: The subconscious process that is similar, if not identical, to the process by which children develop language ability in their first language.

Second-language learning: The process by which a conscious knowledge of a second language is developed. This conscious knowledge includes knowing the rules of the language, being aware of them, and being able to talk about them.

Sensory modality strength: A learning style typology that categorizes learners by the sensory input they utilize most for information. Learners are categorized as: visual, meaning they remember best by seeing or reading; auditory, meaning they remember best by hearing; or tactile-kinesthetic, meaning they remember best by writing or using their hands in a manipulative way (Scarcella, 1990).

Sheltered instruction: Subject matter instruction provided to English-language learners in English, modified so that it is accessible to them at their levels of English proficiency. This modification includes teachers using simplified speech, repetition, visual aids, contextual clues, etc.

Structured immersion: A program model in which all students in the program are English-language learners, and in which students are usually (though not always) from different language backgrounds. Instruction is provided in English, with an attempt made to adjust the level of English so that the subject matter is comprehensible. Typically there is no native-language support.

Submersion: English-only instruction in which students with limited-English proficiency are placed in mainstream classes with English-speaking students and no language assistance programs are provided.

Subtractive bilingualism: The replacement of a learner's first-language skills by second-language skills.

Syllable: A unit of spoken language that can be spoken. In English, a syllable can consist of a vowel sound alone or a vowel sound with one or more conso­nant sounds preceding and following.

Target language: The language that a learner is trying to acquire or learn.

TL: See "Target language."

Transitional bilingual education: See "Early-exit bilingual education."

Two-way developmental bilingual education: A program model in which language-majority and language-minority students are schooled together in the same bilingual class. The goal of this model is to develop proficiency in both languages for both groups of students. Like late-exit bilingual education, this model usually involves students for several more years than the early-exit model.

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Return to Table of Contents

1 This document does not provide an extended investigation of the theory and research on reading development and pedagogy in general. Although such research and theory was used to inform much of this document, we focus our attention on those issues that are particularly salient to ELLs learning to read in English in U.S. public schools. For a detailed discussion of reading development and pedagogy more generally, see Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (1998b) and other related publications.

2 Primary acquisition age refers to the period between birth and the onset of puberty, during which many researchers and theorists consider children to be natural language acquirers. For a more detailed discussion of this subject, see Chapter One of this document.

3 Primary acquisition age refers to the period between birth and the onset of puberty, during which many researchers and theorists consider children to be natural language acquirers. For a more detailed discussion of this subject, see Chapter One of this document.

4 It should be noted that, unlike the acquisition of grammatical structures, vocabulary size and knowledge continues to develop through the learner’s entire life and is not considered “completed” as is the knowledge of the syntactic forms.

5 A target language is a language that a learner is trying to acquire or learn.

6 See Brown (1973), Dulay and Burt (1973), Milon (1974), Natalicio and Natalicio (1971) and Ravem (1968) for other studies in this area.

7 ELLs start at half a standard deviation behind the native speakers of English (Thomas & Collier, 1997).

8 August and Hakuta (1998) also express concern with regard to standards-based assessments. They warn that ELLs may take more time to meet the predetermined district or state standards and that additional benchmarks may need to be developed to assess the progress that ELLs are making toward meeting these standards.

9 In a series of morpheme order studies, Dulay and Burt reported that the exact order was determined in which children and adults acquire eleven important English morphemes.

10 The ability of ELLs to acquire BICS in a relatively short period of time has routinely led to the misconception that these children can acquire the language skills necessary to participate in mainstream classes without additional support in 1-2 years.

11 This table is based on the one provided by A. U. Chamot (1981). Reproduced by permission of the author.

12 See Krashen (1978).

13 See Cummins (1980).

14 See Bloom and Krathwohl (1977).

15 Bialystok and Hakuta (1994), Collier (1987), Epstein, et al. (1996), Harley and Wang (1997), Krashen, et al. (1982), Long (1990) and Snow (1987) (as cited by August and Hakuta, 1997) reviewed the research literature and find the claim that children are more proficient at second-language acquisition than older individuals is not supported very well.

16 Children are natural language acquirers prior to the onset of puberty. During this period children’s language development is a subconscious and spontaneous process. They learn language actively and are motivated to communicate by the desire to bring meaning and purpose to social situations.

17 It needs to be stressed that individual learner differences do account for variations in acquisition timetables.

18 Rossell and Baker (1996) and Porter (1990) disagree with these researchers.

19 August and Hakuta (1997) also observe that, although there is a critical period in learning a first language, this theory does not necessarily suggest that there is a critical period for second language learning.

20 The 50th percentile or normal curve equivalent (NCE) on standardized norm-referenced tests is the criteria for normal academic achievement of native speakers of English.

21 Note the instruction is exclusively in English.

22 For further discussion, see Thomas and Collier (1997) and Collier (1987).

23 Integrative orientation refers to reasons for learning the second language, reflecting an interest in forming a closer liaison with the target language community.

24 Instrumental orientation refers to reasons for learning the second language, emphasizing pragmatic reasons, and appearing to distance learner from social-emotional contact with the other community.

25 Some studies have shown that integratively orientated individuals are more highly motivated than instrumentally orientated ones (Gardner & Lambert, 1959). However, Gardner (1985) asserts that it is possible for instrumentally orientated individuals to demonstrate high levels of motivation.

26 It should be noted that the majority of studies regarding the role of attitude and motivation in language learning have been conducted in foreign language classrooms.

27 An immersion program is one in which students are exposed to instruction in an L2 for a substantial portion of the day.

28 Clarizio (1982) opposes this view.

29 An integrative orientation is one that reflects an interest in forming a closer liaison with target language community.

30 These learning style typologies are not considered mutually exclusive.

31 Metalinguistic awareness is the conscious linguistic knowledge of the rules and forms of the language.

32 For more details, see Alderson (1984).

33 It should be noted that the majority of research in this area has been conducted in reference to adult students learning foreign languages.

34 There is evidence that when reading in an L2, good L1 readers have an advantage over poor L1 readers of the same L2 proficiency level. This suggests that poor L1 readers will probably be poor L2 readers.

35 According to Lee and Schallert (1997), the threshold level is likely to vary from task to task and from reader to reader. It is important that educators note this conclusion when engaging in selecting reading materials for second language learners.

36Phonemic awareness is "the insight that every spoken word can be conceived as a sequence of phonemes. Because phonemes are the units of sound that are represented by the letters of an alphabet, an awareness of phonemes is key to understanding the logic of the alphabetic principle and thus to the learnability of phonics and spelling" (Snow, et al., 1998, p.52).

37 Phonological awareness is "a more inclusive term than phonemic awareness and refers to the general ability to attend to the sounds of language as distinct from its meaning. Phonemic awareness generally develops through other less subtle levels of phonological awareness. Noticing similarities between words in their sounds, enjoying rhymes, counting syllables, and so forth are indications of such 'metaphonological' skill" (Snow, et al., 1998, p.52).

38 For a detailed analysis of how native speakers of Spanish learn how to read in Spanish, see Ferreiro and Teberosky (1982).

39 For further details on this issue, see Snow, et al. (1998).

40 For further discussion of this mismatch between oral language and school vocabulary, see Hall, Nagy and Linn (1984).

41 For detailed information on schema theory and ESL reading, see Carrell and Eisterhold (1983).

42 For further information, see Rigg (1981).

43 Reprinted with permission from Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. Courtesy of the National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

44 This chapter is substantially based on the work of August and Hakuta (1997).

45 See Appendix A for an overview of Washington State's programs for the education of ELLs.

46 The definitions provided in Box 3:1 are a synthesis of those employed by August and Hakuta (1997) and Thomas and Collier (1997).

47 To be included in Baker and de Kanter's review, a study essentially had to either employ random assignment of children to treatment and control groups or take measures to ensure that treatment and control groups were equivalent.

48 To be considered methodologically acceptable, studies had to randomly assign students to programs or to statistically control for pretreatment differences between groups when random assignment was not possible.

49 Willig (1985) only incorporated 16 of the 28 studies reviewed by Baker and de Kanter (1981). The rationale provided for excluding these 12 studies was: three analyzed programs outside the U.S; one was a synthesis of studies, not primary research; one evaluated a program that took place outside the regular school day; and the final seven lacked sufficient data to perform the necessary calculations.

50 Willig did not compare the effects of early-exit bilingual education with those of other special programs (such as structured immersion). In part this is because neither she nor Baker and de Kanter (1981) could find many evaluations at that time which made such comparisons (August & Hakuta, 1997).

51 One possible source of contention over Greene (1998) is the fact that his analysis included only 11 of the 75 studies encompassed by Rossell and Baker (1996). According to Greene, most of these were excluded because they: lacked adequate control groups, were separately released reports of the same programs by the same authors, or inadequately controlled for differences between treatment and control groups when randomized assignment was not employed.

52 Figure 3:1 represents a synthesis of the test scores of 42,317 students who were tracked in overlapping 4 to 8 year longitudinal cohorts (Thomas & Collier, 1997).

53 The length of student participation in these programs varied according to program type. This could be a minimum of 2 years (e.g., ESL pullout) to a maximum of 7 years (e.g., late-exit bilingual education). The failure of Thomas and Collier (1997) to control for this variable is appropriate since the length of student participation is a defining characteristic of these programs. For example, rapid transition of students to mainstream instruction is a goal of early-exit bilingual education.

54 Experimental mortality is when the sample being studied shrinks through attrition (e.g., the students in a study's sample group are lost due to school transfer, death, etc.).

55 See Appendix A for an overview of Washington State's programs for the education of ELLs.

56 Not all studies in this synthesis focus on ELLs specifically, but instead address the broader category of language-minority students.

57 Though not as frequently cited as the attributes in the above list, some studies reviewed in this section also mention the importance of informing instruction through ongoing classroom-level assessment of students' progress and needs (Moll, 1988; Tharp, 1982; Thomas & Collier, 1997). (For an extended discussion of classroom-based assessment of ELLs see Genesee & Hamayan, 1994; see also Garcia, 1994.) In addition, studies by Berman, Minicucci, McLaughlin, Nelson, and Woodworth (1995), Slavin and Madden (1995) and Slavin and Yampolsky (1992) note the importance of collaboration between all of a school's teachers involved in educating language-minority students (e.g., mainstream classroom teachers, tutors, and bilingual/ESL staff). Though again not as routinely cited in the studies reviewed in this section, the need for such collaboration is often discussed throughout the literature on educating ELLs (e.g., Sakash & Rodriguez-Brown, 1995).

58 See August and Hakuta (1997) for a discussion of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these designs in the area of educational research.

59 These studies are limited to those that involve students attending elementary or middle school.

60 Lucas and Katz (1994) is an exception. In their discussion of effective Special Alternative Instructional Programs for ELLs, the isolation of these programs was prominent. In one district, each program "was housed at a school site but operated as an individual educational unit, physically separated from the rest of the school…" (Lucas & Katz, 1994, p.546). In another district, the program was housed in a central location, to which ELL students were bused to, and in which they spent half their school day.

61 For an expanded discussion of how teachers can modify their classrooms to be more compatible with the cultures of their students see Tikunoff (1983).

62 It is important to remember that what constitutes culturally compatible instructional approaches may vary significantly between different ethnic minority groups (Wong Fillmore, et al., 1985). Furthermore, it should also be remembered that within a group the variations among individuals are as great as their commonalties (Guild, 1998). Informing instruction through an understanding of cultural differences, though valuable, should of course not lead to a stereotyping of the needs and abilities of individual students.

63 Met (1994) states that appropriate modification of teacher speech includes: speaking more slowly, emphasizing key words or phrases; simplifying language by using more common vocabulary or simpler, high frequency grammatical structures; restating, repeating, and paraphrasing, since redundancy provides additional supports for meaning; providing definition through exemplification; the use of synonyms to link new vocabulary with known words; and the use of antonyms to provide counterexamples to meaning.

64 See Appendix B for a detailed discussion of how to structure a program in order to most effectively provide ELLs with cognitively complex, on-grade-level instruction.

65 Content-based ESL has also been shown to support second-language acquisition (Genesee, 1994b; Krashen, 1991). For an extended discussion of content-based ESL see Burkart and Sheppard (1995).

66 Berman, et al. (1995) and Moll (1988) are an exception. In these studies the successful academic achievement of language-minority students was correlated with an exclusive emphasis on holistic, meaning based instruction.

67 Studies have shown that cooperative learning supports the second-language acquisition process of students (Bejarano, 1987; Cohen, DeAvila, & Intiti, 1981, as cited in Kagan, 1986; Sharan, et al., 1984). Studies have also provided indirect evidence that peer tutoring (Flanigan, 1991) and instructional conversations (Goldenberg & Patthey-Chavez, 1995) do so as well; when contrasted with traditional teacher-fronted, one-way instruction, these techniques were shown to be richer in the types of linguistic interaction believed to support language acquisition. Finally, theorists have argued that the use of dialogue journals is also a superior means of providing ELLs with exposure to the meaning-focused use of English (e.g., Kreeft Peyton, 1986, 1987).

68 Researchers have noted that language-minority parents (especially recent immigrants) often face formidable social, cultural, linguistic and economic barriers to involvement in school activities. For a discussion of these barriers, as well as how schools can accommodate the needs of language-minority parents, see for example Bermudez and Marquez (1996), Coelho (1994), Finders and Lewis (1998), Miramontes, Nadeau, and Commins (1997) and Violand-Sanchez, Sutton, and Ware (1991).

69 Alternative assessment refers to any method of finding out what a student knows or can do that is intended to show growth and inform instruction, and is an alternative to traditional forms of testing (i.e., multiple-choice tests) (O'Malley & Valdez Pierce, 1998). Authentic assessment refers to methods for evaluating student learning, achievement, motivation, and attitudes in regard to instructionally relevant classroom activities (O'Malley & Valdez Pierce, 1998). Examples include performance-based assessment, portfolios, and student self-assessment.

70 These definitions are a synthesis of those provided by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (1998a) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (1998c).

71 These definitions are a synthesis of those provided by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (1998a) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (1998c).

72 For an expanded discussion of how to develop an instructional program for ELLs that maximizes resources and personnel see Miramontes, Nadeau, and Commins (1997).

73 The framework presented in this appendix for the development of effective programs for ELLs is also similar to the one endorsed by the Multilingual Education Department of the Dallas Public Schools (Dehart & Martinez, 1998).

74 Concurrent translation is a practice in which a teacher speaks in one language and then immediately translates what was said into a second language. The use of concurrent translation in instruction is criticized as failing to facilitate second-language acquisition, since children are not compelled to attend to what is being said in the language they are less fluent in (see for example Legaretta, 1979, and Wong Fillmore, 1985).

75 This table is a replication of the one presented in Krashen (1996).

76 Research suggests that two-way developmental bilingual programs benefit both native-English speakers and ELLs (see Christian,1994, and Zanger, 1991, for reviews of the research on two-way programs; see also Thomas & Collier, 1997). For an expanded discussion of the features of a two-way developmental bilingual program see Christian (1994).

77 The breakdown of parent-child communication can result in: parents not being able to teach their children about ethical values, responsibility, morality, etc.; parents not being able to provide emotional and social support to their children; parents not being able to tell when their children are having trouble in school or are involved in potentially dangerous activities; and parents losing moral authority and control over their children (Gandara, 1997).

78 For a detailed overview of the studies conducted on Reading Recovery's effectiveness in the United States, see U.S. Department of Education (1997).


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