ell students and dyslexia presented at orbida 2008 annual conference literacy across the spectrum
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ELL Students and Dyslexia presented at ORBIDA 2008 Annual Conference “Literacy Across the Spectrum. Julie Esparza Brown Portland State University [email protected] Read This…. ghoughphtheightteeau. a as in neighbor. o as in dough. o as in plateau. gh ough phth eigh tte eau.

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ell students and dyslexia presented at orbida 2008 annual conference literacy across the spectrum

ELL Students and Dyslexiapresented atORBIDA 2008 Annual Conference“Literacy Across the Spectrum

Julie Esparza Brown

Portland State University

[email protected]

read this
Read This…


a as in neighbor

o as in dough

o as in plateau

gh ough phth eigh tte eau

t as in gazette

t as in phthisis

p as in hiccough

What is the word?

how did you approach the task
How did you approach the task?
  • Did you:
    • Struggle to figure out what sounds the letters said?
    • Feel that you should be able to read it but just couldn’t?
    • Give up?
  • These are the frustrations and emotions that individuals with dyslexia experience every time they look at written language.
confusion for ells
Now consider the ELL student who must figure out that the following words are all pronounced differently:




Or that “great” and “straight” rhyme.

Or, that “sure” and “shot” have the same onset.

Confusion for ELLs
the context
The Context…
  • Out of every classroom of 30 students
    • 6 are poor and beset by multiple socioeconomic problems
    • 10 are ethnic or racial minority
    • 6 are language minority students
      • 4 ELL
      • 2 immigrant
      • 4 Spanish-speaking
      • 1 speak an Asian language
      • 1 speaks one of more than 100 other languages
language acquisition
Language Acquisition
  • All language is acquired in stages and all children go through more or less the same stages at more of less the same time.
  • It is not acquired through simple imitation.
  • Rather, the child infers a system of rules.
  • This supports the hypothesis that human beings are genetically programmed to acquire language.
  • Language is not a function of intelligence or intellectual abilities.
basic interpersonal communication skills bics
Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS)
  • Language proficiency needed in order to function in everyday interpersonal contexts:
    • Greetings, words of courtesy
    • Numbers/calculations
    • Playground conversation
  • Communication used in daily routines
  • Communicative capacity all normal children acquire which reaches a plateau soon after child enters school
  • Not related to academic achievement
  • Universal across all native speakers
  • Typically attained after two-three years in host country
cognitive academic language proficiency calp
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)
  • Language needed for literacy and academic success
  • Language required for:
    • Solving mathematical word problems
    • Reading academic texts
    • Taking tests
    • Writing exposition on a topic one has read about
  • CALP in L1 and L2 overlap, in spite of important differences in the “surface features” of each language
  • Typically attained between five to seven years in host country but up to twelve years when native language is not used for instruction
preproduction stage no bics
Preproduction Stage (No BICS)

This stage is sometimes called the silent period because students are likely to be quiet listeners for much of this period. The student is dependent upon modeling, visual aides, and contextual clues to obtain and convey meaning. Research indicates it is at least four times more efficient to teach for comprehension rather than production at this stage.

  • Students communicate with gestures and actions (communicate their comprehension nonverbally)
  • Students can follow basic instruction and grasp main ideas by focusing on key words
  • Teacher utilizes Total Physical Response (TPR)


  • Focus is on listening comprehension and building

receptive vocabulary

early production early bics
Early Production (Early BICS)

Students begin to produce words and short phrases in response to comprehensible (understandable) input. Students will understand approximately four times the amount of language they can produce. Difficulties with syntax and grammar will be evident.

  • Common nouns, verbs and adjectives emerge first
  • Vocabulary must be learned in context of themes, stories, or personal lives of students
  • Activities should be designed to motivate students to produce vocabulary which they already understand
speech emergence intermediate bics
Speech Emergence (Intermediate BICS)

Students have now acquired a limited vocabulary and can respond to literal questions which have been made comprehensible. Students use simple phrases and sentences and will continue to have difficulty with syntax and grammar.

  • Errors of omission are common
  • Lessons should continue to expand receptive vocabulary through comprehensible input and encourage higher level of language use
intermediate fluency stage advanced bics emerging calp
Intermediate Fluency Stage (advanced BICS/emerging CALP)

Students continue to develop excellent comprehension and are beginning to function in normal conversation. However, they continue to lack the sufficient academic language to compete with native English speakers. Their speech will still contain some grammatical errors.

  • Students should be presented with opportunities to produce responses that require creativity, critical thinking skills and complex sentence structures
  • Students actively initiate and engage in communication with fluency
  • Literacy skills and academic language are continuing to develop
three more language concepts
Three More Language Concepts

Primary Language (L1)

Dominant Language

Language Proficiency

primary language
Primary Language
  • The language:
    • that the student learns first and uses most frequently in the early stages of language development
    • of the home, used to make and establish meaningful communicative relationships with their family members
    • Best determined through home language surveys and carefully conducted parent interviews
dominant language
Dominant Language
  • The language that:
    • the student speaks most fluently
    • the child prefers to speak when given the choice
    • can be situational in nature. For example, a child schooled only in English will ultimately become dominant in English academic language.
    • may remain dominant in other social situations such as church or community events
language proficiency
Language Proficiency
  • The student’s level of skill or amount of control in use of a particular language
  • Defined as the ability to “effectively communicate or understand thoughts or ideas through the language’s grammatical system and its vocabulary, using its sounds or written symbols”
  • Full proficiency in L1 contributes to the development of the L2
  • Language proficiency is not a static state but rather a constant state of fluctuation.
opportunities to develop languages
Opportunities to Develop Languages
  • Many ELL students have immigrated to the U.S. or are children of immigrants.
  • Therefore, many ELL students’ families qualify for free and reduced lunch and are economically struggling.
  • While these families possess many other resources, language opportunities in L1 (as well as L2) may be limited.
  • Research (Hart & Risley, 1995) has shown that socioeconomic status significantly impacts children’s L1 language development.
normal second language processes not disorders
Normal Second Language Processes – NOT Disorders
  • Language loss when the students’ opportunities in L1 are minimized
  • Language test scores similar to those of children with language disorders
  • Dysfluencies associated with lack of vocabulary, word finding difficulties, sequencing of ideas, and tension surrounding expressive attempts
  • Code-switching is a natural stage in second language acquisition
normal second language processes not disorders25
Normal Second Language Processes – NOT Disorders
  • It is not possible for a bilingual child to have a language disorder in L2 and not in L1.
  • A disorder may exist if language is atypical when student is compared with peers from same group, who speak the same dialect and have had similar language opportunities.
language delays
Language Delays
  • Sometimes, dyslexic ELL students are not referred for assessment because it is thought that their difficulties stem from trying to learning a second language and trying to learn in that second language.
  • This may delay the delivery of appropriate interventions.
the importance of the first language
The Importance of the First Language
  • If ELL students are strong in their first language (L1), then expect their linguistic strengths to transfer to the language of the school.
  • If an ELL student experiences fluency and phonemic awareness/phonological decoding difficulties in L1, then there may be a learning disability or dyslexia and the students should be assessed in their first language.
common underlying proficiency or cup cummins
Common Underlying Proficiency or CUP (Cummins)
  • A study conducted by Leafstedt and Gerber (2005) suggests that phonological processes are cross-linguistic processes
  • Therefore, instruction and/or measurement in L1 provides information regarding performance in L2.
comprehensible input
Comprehensible Input
  • What is Comprehensible Input?
    • It is meaningful language that is available to students and is therefore useful in developing their proficiency. Language that can be understood from context.
  • What is Input + 1?
    • It is language to which children are exposed that contains some structures a little beyond what they are able to understand in the second language.
  • Why is it important to use authentic language in context?
    • Children cannot acquire language skills that are divorced from context of meaning and use. Use “whole” texts (e.g., stories, books).
comprehensible input31
Comprehensible Input
  • Use simplified codes:
      • Articulate clearly
      • Increase volume on key words
      • Exaggerate intonation
      • Use fewer idioms and less slang
      • Use high frequency vocabulary
      • Use personalized language and nouns (reduce pronouns)Use non-linguistic cues:
      • Gestures
      • Facial expressions
      • Body language
      • Pantomine
  • Use manipulatives, realia, visuals:
      • Videos
      • Pictures, photos, drawings
      • Real objects
      • Hands-on activities
  • Use prior content introduction in the primary language:
      • “Preview, view, review”
brain research
Brain Research
  • We need to remember that an ELL child is not merely coping with the challenges of learning to read English, but is also at a fairly early stage in developing a bilingual brain circuitry to spoken language.
  • Studies have reported overlapping systems for the spoken forms of L1 and L2 in fluent bilinguals, but the degree of overlap appears to depend heavily upon factors such as age of acquisition, degree of proficiency in L1 and L2.
brain research33
Brain Research
  • Highly proficient speakers of L2 show greater integration of L1 and L2 in the brain than less proficient speakers.
  • Thus, spoken language proficiency in L2, by virtue of its effects on brain organization for speech, might impact the ways in which reading circuits develop as literacy skills as taught (Kim et al., 1997;, Klein, Milner, Zatoree, Meyer, & Evans, 1995; Perani et al., 1998).
  • Do you think there are equal percentages of individuals with dyslexia in transparent and opaque languages?
  • Why or why not?
  • The incidence of severe reading disabilities is around 5 percent in all alphabetic languages while the prevalence across languages depends upon the transparency of the orthography (Snowling, 2000).
what are transparent and opaque phonologies
What are Transparent and Opaque Phonologies?
  • Transparent: phonologically regular orthography
    • Finnish
    • German
    • Spanish
  • Opaque: phonologically less regular orthography
    • English
spanish phonology
Spanish Phonology
  • Spanish has clear syllables.
  • It also has a small inventory of syllables with only 19 structures.
  • There is nearly 1:1 correspondence between letters and sounds with five exceptions:
    • c
    • g
    • r
    • ll
    • Y
  • Therefore, Spanish-speaking children master the alphabetic principle and develop spelling skills relatively early compared to English speakers.
  • New brain imaging techniques show that the brains of dyslexic people process language differently.
  • Phonological weaknesses make it hard for students to deal with an alphabetic script
  • Research also suggests that rapid automatized naming (RAN) seems to be a main characteristic of children with RD (Korhonen, 1995; Novoa & Wolf, 1984.
  • It was found that in both German and Dutch (both transparent languages) naming speed was a robust predictor of reading performance (Frith, Wimmer, & Landerl, 1998; de Jong & van der Leijk, 2003)
  • Spanish-speaking children with RD also had difficulty in reading fluency and orthography.
  • It appears that in transparent languages phonological skills are a key predictor of reading.
  • The second key predictor in transparent languages is RAN.
research across languages
Research Across Languages
  • Studies demonstrate that normally progressing preschool children demonstrate good:
    • Phonological awareness of sylables
    • Onsets
    • Rimes
  • Around the ages of 3-4
    • Syllable awareness
  • Around the ages of 4-5
    • Onset-time awareness
    • Phoneme awareness only develops once children are taught to read and write.
what is needed to read in any language
What is Needed to Read in Any Language
  • The first step in becoming literate are the acquisition of the system for mapping between sound and symbol.
  • Mastery of this system allows children to access the thousands of words already present in their spoken lexicon.
  • The process of learning and applying these mappings has been called phonological recoding.
phonological recoding deficits
Phonological Recoding Deficits
  • Ziegler & Goswami (2005) found in their review that deficits in phonological recording underlie reading disabilities in all alphabetic languages.
  • Thus, children learning to read in transparent languages may master the process of mapping print to sound and sound to print more quickly than children learning to read in English (or another language with opaque orthography).
the importance of phonological awareness
The Importance of Phonological Awareness
  • Many studies show a language-universal sequence in the development of phonological awareness (Cicero and Royer, 1995; Durgunoglu and Oney, 1999; Goswami and East, 2000).
  • Goswami (2001) notes, “…there is a causal connection between a child’s phonological awareness and his or her reading and spelling development” (p. 141).
characteristics of spanish speakers with rd
Characteristics of Spanish-speakers with RD
  • Findings by Jimenez and Ramiez (2002)with native Spanish readers reinforce the hypothesis that the basis of reading problems is a difficulty in phonological processing.
  • Implications: Speech perception is an effective component in phonological training (Ortiz, Garcia, & Guzman, 2002).
characteristics of spanish speakers with rd46
Characteristics of Spanish-speakers with RD
  • Spanish speakers, even those with RD appear to be able to divide words into syllables but the difficulty comes at the phoneme level.
  • Ortiz et al., (2007) found that the performance of Spanish-speaking children with RD was lower than age-matched non-disabled readers in discriminating initial phonemes.
characteristics of spanish speakers with rd47
Characteristics of Spanish-speakers with RD
  • These students consistently display poorer phonological awareness skills and use a phonological strategy (sounding out) less often than peers without RD.
characteristics of spanish speakers with rd48
Characteristics of Spanish-speakers with RD
  • Research (Jimenez, 1997; Jimenez & Hernandez-Valle, 200; Rodrigo & Jimenez, 1999) has found that purely phonological deficits are less common in Spanish.
  • Poor readers in Spanish often read words with accuracy but their main problem is decoding unusual or low-frequency words and nonwords (Escribano, 2007).
  • Assessing rapid serial naming appears to be very important.
naming speed in transparent languages
Naming Speed in Transparent Languages
  • It was found that in both German and Dutch (transparent languages) naming speed was a robust predictor of reading performance (Frith, Wimmer, & Landerl, 1998; de Jong & van der Leij, 2003).
the importance of early intervening
The Importance of Early Intervening
  • McCardle et al. (2005) report that ELL students are identified as having a learning disability most often in grades 4 through 6, 2 – 3 years later than most English-only children.
  • It is probable that this delay may ultimately affect their academic success.
transferable skills
Transferable Skills
  • Manis, Lindsey and Bailey (2004) found that children were able to transfer phonological awareness and word-decoding skills from Spanish to English
  • However, their development was slower in English vocabulary and memory for sentences.
  • The amount of exposure to printed materials in Spanish is the primary predictor of later English-reading skills.
  • It appears that in transparent languages phonological skills are a key predictor of reading and the second predictor being RAN.
high pa in spanish is a transferable skill
High PA in Spanish is a Transferable Skill
  • Children with high phonological awareness in Spanish can be expected to develop phonological awareness more quickly than other children in English
  • This reflects their metalinguistic insights about onsets, rimes, phonemic units and so forth, and knowledge of shared spelling-sound consonants.
progression of pa in spanish speakers
Progression of PA in Spanish-speakers
  • The developmental progression of PA in Spanish appears to be similar to that in English.
  • Manrique and Signorini (1998) and Leafstedt and Gerber (2005) divide these into two levels:
    • First level – rhyming, syllable awareness, and sound matching (all of these are usually learned indirectly through songs, words games, etc.)
    • Second level – segmental awareness skills such as sound-letter identification, blending, phoneme segmentation and manipulation, spelling and reading (usually learned through formal literacy instruction)
instructional implications
Instructional Implications
  • Students failing to make progress in reading English words despite instruction in English might benefit from direct, intensive instruction in Spanish phonological skills.
teaching pa in spanish
Teaching PA in Spanish
  • Rhyming practice, songs, poetry (for earliest stages only)
  • With ESL students do lots of rhyming; pair with picture cards
  • Use poems. Poems are great for immigrant children (especially from Mexico) since they are used to memorizing poems within their country's educational system.
  • Segmenting Syllables
    • Students clap or tap once for each syllable they hear
    • Students name or other familiar words can be used
    • Teacher models, does it with the students, then students do it themselves
    • Practice segmenting and blending with thematic word lists or word walls
teaching pa in spanish56
Teaching PA in Spanish
  • Blending Syllables
    • Teacher pronounces words in a syllable individually, but smoothly (paaa-to)
    • Students pronounce words as a unit
    • Related to sounding out words
  • Phoneme Segmentation
    • Students learn to say a word slowly and smoothly (stretch the word mmmeeesssaa)
    • Teacher models, leads, students then do it
    • Start with known word - how do we stretch it out?
  • Phoneme Blending
    • Teacher says the word in the stretched version
teaching pa in spanish57
Teaching PA in Spanish
  • In Spanish you start mostly with two syllable words since there are very few one syllable words. They should have continuous consonant sounds (sol, mano) rather that "stop" sounds (pez).
  • Easier words begin with single initial consonants rather than blends (e.g., pez not primo, gusto no grupo).
  • Use “estimated spelling” (aka"Inventive spelling“)
    • Teacher models the skill first
    • Students say a word slowly and write the sounds they hear
    • Students will probably be able to record only the first or final consonant in the beginning stages
    • Sound out words smoothly
  • Middle School recent immigrant should also practice phonemic awareness activities but these are often done through spelling.
Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents


assessment issues
Assessment Issues
  • Assessment depends on the levels of proficiency in L1 and L2.
  • L1 assessment may provide a more accurate inventory of a children’s knowledge and skills.
  • It is imperative, however, to know the child’s educational history and language(s) of instruction.
  • Assessment should include
    • Knowledge of letter names and sounds
    • Phonological awareness
    • Rapid naming
    • Word reading accuracy
    • Word reading efficiency
    • Reading comprehension
assessment must reflect instructional history
Assessment Must Reflect instructional History
  • If a child has had literacy instruction in L1 prior to literacy instruction in English, it is imperative to assess the child’s skills in L1.
  • If the child has acquired literacy in L1 and then fails to acquire English literacy, this is probably more of an issue related to the quantity and quality of English literacy and language instruction.
assessment must reflect instructional history62
Assessment Must Reflect instructional History
  • If a child has not developed literacy skills in L1 and has had adequate opportunity to do so, then there is a likelihood of a phonological core deficit when the language is alphabetic.
  • Assessment in only one language can give an incomplete picture of a student’s knowledge, skills and needs.
  • Metalinguistic awareness does not need to be learned separately for each language.
  • The ability of multilingual students to manipulate and reassemble words can be measured reliably in the majority language.
assess expressive language
Assess Expressive Language
  • Expressive language was found to show a stronger within- than across-language relationship to later reading.
  • Children at risk for poor reading might be identified based on their expressive language performance on a screening battery in L1.
assessment of word recognition in l1
Assessment of Word Recognition in L1
  • It is often believed that poor reading performance is the result of poor oral language skills.
  • Research does not support this (Juel, Griffith & Gough, 1986, Durgunoglu, Nagy & Hancin-Bhatt, 1993).
  • Implication: Professionals should not wait to assess reading skills until oral language proficiency is strong.
  • Practice in phoneme discrimination in words or syllables (the trainer presents a set of five words oralloy, of which only one is different, e.g., pala, pala, pala, tala, pala; and the children put their hands up when they hear the different word)
  • Word pair categorization (e.g., the children hear a pair of words and give a response of same or different.
  • Word phonological identification (e.g., the children listen to a word, e.g., /pala/, and have to match it with one of two different pictures, e.g., pala-bala). Syllable and word pairs should differ in terms of a single phoneme. This phoneme would be identical in all respects but one phonetic feature.
  • Begin speech perception training with the discrimination of syllable or word pairs that differ in place of articulation, then progressing to manner of articulation contrasts, and finally working with voicing contrasts.
remember to build background knowledge
Remember to Build Background Knowledge
  • Background knowledge is one of the most critical factors in the ability to read stories and then retell the story.
  • For optimal instruction, teachers need to build such language acquisition in a low-risk and low-anxiety environment keeping the “affective filter” low.
use good ell methodology
Use Good ELL Methodology
  • Teachers must good ELL methodology such as using repetitive language and routines, all new information was modeled rather than just explained, and children were provided many opportunities to dialogue with the teacher as well as practice every skill.
oracy component to interventions
Oracy Component to Interventions
  • Vaughn, Mathes, Linan-Thompson, and Francis (2005) found that word study and phonics instruction (in L1 or L2) were critical.
  • They also found that reading interventions only were not enough to help struggling ELL students.
oracy component to interventions73
Oracy Component to Interventions
  • Struggling ELL students needed an additional oracy component each day.
  • The oracy component should last for at least 10 minutes daily in the same language as their literacy instruction.
  • This could be in the form of daily read-alouds from children’s expository texts.
their 7 steps to intervention
Their 7 Steps to Intervention
  • Overview of the theme and selected story
  • Preteach two or three identified vocabulary words
  • Read aloud to the students of 200-250 words of the text
  • Reread the same passage asking students to listen carefully for the new vocabulary words
their 7 steps to intervention75
Their 7 Steps to Intervention

5. Select target students to lead the summarization of what was read

6. Ask questions and provide scaffolding to process key words and comprehension of text

7. Connect key vocabulary words and concepts each day so that students deepen their knowledge and understanding of the theme and related concepts

interventions for ell students with dyslexia
Interventions for ELL Students with Dyslexia
  • The general rule of thumb is to provide then with the same continuum of strategic approaches used with other struggling readers such as:
    • Guided reading
    • Teacher read-alouds
    • Shared reading
    • Literature circles
    • Discussion groups
intervention for spanish speakers with rd
Intervention for Spanish-speakers with RD
  • Ortiz et al. (2002) showed that a training program that integrates speech perception, phoneme awareness, and instruction in sound-symbol connections improved word reading in Spanish children with RD.
the big 5 necessary components for teaching reading to ells
The Big 5 Necessary Components for Teaching Reading to ELLs
  • Phonemic Awareness, letter knowledge, and concepts of print
    • Some children must learn a new alphabet system
    • Some children may need to learn to read from left to right
    • Research shows that phonemic awareness is a transferable skill
    • Phonological tasks with unknown words are more difficult.
  • The alphabetic code: phonics and decoding
    • Systematic phonics should be linked to spelling
    • If a student is literate in their first language they should be fast-tracked to decoding
    • Fast-track decoding skills for students in 4th – 12th grades
    • For beginning English Language Learner readers, use wordless picture books.
    • Begin with pattern and predictable books and move to decodable books.
  • Fluent, automatic reading of text
    • Fast-track building fluency skills for students in 4th – 12th grades
  • Vocabulary
    • Teach different tiers of vocabulary
    • Explicit instruction in how to analyze words to detect meaning
    • Practice words in meaningful context
  • Text Comprehension
    • Select books that are a close match to your students’ level of language development.
    • Do not ask an ELL student to read aloud to assess their reading comprehension. We want to be certain that students do not become “word callers” but rather read for meaning. Also, reading aloud may make students become self-conscious and again lose the meaning of the text.
additional necessary components for teaching reading to ell students
Additional Necessary Components for Teaching Reading to ELL Students
  • Build background knowledge
  • Literacy in L1 supports English literacy
phonemic awareness instruction for ell students
Phonemic Awareness Instruction for ELL Students
  • It may be difficult for ELL students to hear English sounds.
  • For example, some Spanish-speaking students from South American have not been exposed to eight English phonemes such as the English short vowels as in “pit,” “pet,” “puf.”
  • Also, between 46 and 53 consonant clusters in English appear in the initial position of the word and more than 36 consonant clusters appear in the final position, while Spanish is limited to 12 consonant clusters that can occur both in the initial word and syllable position.
  • Additionally, Spanish has no final consonant clusters such as “ld” and “sk” (Kramer & Rubison, 1983).
phonemic awareness instruction for ell students81
Phonemic Awareness Instruction for ELL Students
  • Studies indicate that students can be taught to hear sounds that do not appear in their L1 (Kramer & Rubison, 1983; Stuart, 1999).
  • Research showed that it was sufficient to train children on the most difficult sounds for the children to distinguish, rather than on all the sounds.
  • Pronunciation differences should not be considered incorrect.
fluency and ell students
Fluency and ELL Students
  • Repeated oral reading practice and guided repeated oral reading practice are effective in building reading fluency for children.
  • ELL students may have less opportunity to read aloud with feedback than English-only students.
  • Also, reading fluency is bolstered if children understand the text they are reading.
fluency and ell students84
Fluency and ELL Students
  • Van Wagenen, Williams, and McLaughlin (1994) found that assisted reading is helpful for increasing ELL’s reading rates, word accuracy and comprehension.
  • During assisted reading, students read silently while listening to a teacher’s recording of the passage, then read the passage aloud, reads the passage three times silently with the tape, and reads the passage a second time aloud.
  • Their analysis found that assisted reading helped students increase the number of words correctly per minute, decreased error rates and improved comprehension.
  • It is clear that a large and rich vocabulary is the hallmark of an educated individual (Beck).
  • Vocabulary knowledge is strongly related to reading proficiency and school achievement.
  • It is important to attend to vocabulary from the earliest grades.
  • The problem is that there are profound differences in vocabulary knowledge among learners from different ability or socioeconomic (SES) group from toddlers through high school.
  • According to research, teachers must make vocabulary instruction robust, vigorous, strong and powerful to be effective.
  • Vocabulary learning should entail active engagement in learning tasks.
  • As many connections as possible should be made for specific words.
  • Students reading in their first language have already learned 5,000 to 7,000 words before they begin formal reading instruction (Biemiller & Slonin, 2001).
  • They also have a sense of the grammar of the language.
  • ELL students, however, usually do not have large vocabularies in L2 nor a complete sense of its grammar.
  • Research by Laufer (2001) shows that students are more likely to remember a word they have used in an original sentence, or incorporated into a composition, than a word they have seen in a text, even if they have looked it up in a dictionary.
robust vocabulary instruction
Robust Vocabulary Instruction
  • A robust approach to vocabulary instruction involves directly explaining the meanings of words along with thought-provoking, playful and interactive follow-up.
  • Struggling readers do not read well enough to derive meaning from text.
  • Thus, depending on wide reading as a source of vocabulary growth leaves at-risk students with a serious deficit (Beck, 2001).
ideas for robust vocabulary instruction
Ideas for Robust Vocabulary Instruction
  • Introduce the unit theme in an “intriguing” way such as using props, music, actions, riddles, analogies, literature...
  • Select the key vocabulary words or key phrases.
vocabulary instruction
Vocabulary Instruction
  • Present words using role play, action, and real objects.
  • Have students be responsible for presenting a word after coaching from the teacher. This will help create “personal connections” and make the word meaningful to the student.
  • There must be a visual involved. This may be an actual object or a picture of someone doing an action (a digital camera is very useful).
  • When possible, demonstrate the opposite
  • Words can be presented over several days.
vocabulary instruction91
Vocabulary Instruction
  • After words have been presented (in a multimodal way), give clues (definitions) to describe the words. Individual students can match the vocabulary word. Or do this as team competitions.
  • Students can identify the word by simply pointing to the word card with the attached visual.
  • Create a word wall or special area for students to have access to the words and clues.
vocabulary lesson closure
Vocabulary Lesson Closure
  • Ask questions relating to the comprehensible action. For example if one of the words is “gushed” you may ask: “What gushed out of the carton?”
  • Questions should be phrased so English Language Learners at the earliest stage can identify the correct answer by pointing and not need to answer orally.
use the vocabulary daily
Use the Vocabulary Daily
  • The key vocabulary words or phrases should be used daily both in a natural context and through short game formats.
  • Establish teams and give points for identifying the target word or phrase when used by teacher or peer.
  • Give team points for finding the word in print at school or at home in newspapers, books, etc.
ways to use the target vocabulary
Ways to Use the Target Vocabulary
  • Categorize Words
    • Example: Make Yes and No columns and begin listing some target words. Have students “Guess the Rule.” The words can be grouped by beginning/ending sounds, etc. and be done as a mini-skills lesson
  • Which One is Missing?
    • Select a few words/phrases with their attached visual cue. Have students study them, close their eyes, then guess which one is missing
ways to use the target vocabulary95
Ways to Use the Target Vocabulary
  • Word Showdown
    • Divide class into two to four groups. Have two students come up. State the target word or phrase and see who is the first to slap their hand on the table to give the definition. They can also identify the word by pointing to the word card with visual cue on Word Wall.
ways to use the target vocabulary96
Ways to Use the Target Vocabulary
  • Think Tank
    • State a target word. Give a “palms up” signal. Everyone at the same time creates as many sentences as possible using the word. Each student, as well as the teacher, will say their sentences aloud.
    • “Palms down” signal means quiet. Call on a student to tell you their sentence.
    • This approach allows students to practice in a non-threatening way. They can also hear what other’s are saying and will help refine non-auditory learners’ listening skills.
ways to use the target vocabulary97
Ways to Use the Target Vocabulary
  • Create Total Physical Response (TPR) commands that require students to “interact” with the picture’s focal point.
    • Example: If a fire hydrant appears in the drawing that illustrate the word “gushed”, the water gushing from the hydrant is the part that directly related to the word’s meaning.
    • Create commands such as: “Put your finger on the water gushing.” “Use your finger to circle the gushing water.” “Blow over the gushing water.” “Use your thumb to jump into the gushing water.”
ways to use the target vocabulary98
Ways to Use the Target Vocabulary
  • Play “Word Hunt.” Hide cards with the target words written on them around the room - in books, desks, under pencil boxes, etc.
  • When students find them, give their team a point if they can give the definition (or for lower level English Language Learners, if they can match it to the correct card/visual cue on Word Wall).
  • If students can read the cards, they’re demonstrating recognition recall in a visual format.
three tiers of vocabulary instruction tier one
Three Tiers of Vocabulary Instruction: Tier One
  • Tier One words rarely require instructional attention (Beck, 2001).
  • They consist of basic words.
  • Examples are: baby, clock, happy, walk, jump, hop, slide, girl, boy, dog
tier two
Tier Two
  • Tier Two words contain high frequency words that are found across a variety of domains.
  • Examples are: Coincidence, absurd, industrious, fortunate, and other Super Duper Words previously mentioned.
  • Rich knowledge of words in this tier can have a powerful impact on verbal functioning (Beck,2001).
tier three
Tier Three
  • Tier Three words are made up of words whose frequency of use is quite low and often limited to specific domains.
  • Examples are: Isotope, lathe, peninsula, refinery.
  • These words are best learned when a specific need arises such as a geography lesson.
captioned tv
Captioned TV
  • Studies show that watching captioned TV results in higher levels of English proficiency and is associated with vocabulary learning.
Shared reading

Concepts about print

Read aloud, listening post



Choral/Echo Reading

Dramatization/Role play

Puppetry/finger plays

Flannel board stories


Interactive journals

Language Experience Approach

Alphabet games

Book publishing


Cloze activities

Compare/contrast stories using illustrations

Concentration games

Literacy Development Strategies and Stages of Language Acquisition - Preproduction/Early Production Stages
literacy development strategies and stages of language acquisition speech emergence
Guided reading

Story mapping

Reader’s theater


Process writing (emphasis on prewriting/drafting)

Book talks

Critical thinking questions/activities

Idiomatic expressions

Language focus lessons

Literature circles

Pair/share writing

Pen pals

Reciprocal teaching

Retelling stories


Syntax Surgery

Vocabulary development activities

Literacy Development Strategies and Stages of Language Acquisition – Speech Emergence

All of the activities from previous slide, PLUS:

literacy development strategies and stages of language acquisition intermediate advanced fluency
Process writing (all steps)

Journal writing

Reader’s workshop

Directed reading

Research projects

Creative dramatics

Public speaking/formal presentations

Use of scaffolding to allow access to grade level/age appropriate narrative and expository texts

Continue with (modified-enriched) strategies previously introduced


Feature analysis


Literature response

Word studies (root words, prefixes, suffixes, word families)

Write directions

Literacy Development Strategies and Stages of Language Acquisition – Intermediate/Advanced Fluency

All of the activities from previous slide, PLUS:

intensive programs
Intensive Programs
  • Explicit and intensive teaching are essential features of classroom instruction aimed at promoting reading success in both L1 and ELL children and needs to begin in kindergarten.
  • Additionally, systematic student assessment is necessary.
  • Literacy-intensive programs that include systematic assessment and that balance explicit instruction with basic reading skills training can prevent the consequences of underassessment and the need for targeted interventions.
additional classroom dynamics
Additional Classroom Dynamics
  • ELL students need to be immersed in classroom environment with context-rich, interactive, and supportive collaborations where there is much language exploration and conversational use in literacy interactions among peers.
families as literacy partners
Families as Literacy Partners
  • Research has shown that initial literacy instruction should build on the strengths of the home language.
  • Families should be considered to be the school’s literacy partners for all children who have a home language different from the instructional language of the school.
  • The children’s cultures should be infused into lesson presentations.
international reading association position statement on second language literacy instruction
International Reading Association Position Statement on Second-Language Literacy Instruction
  • Affirms the right of families to have options in regard to their children’s initial literacy instruction whether it be in the home language or in the primary language of the school.
  • (Language policy, however, is moving away from native language instruction.)
international reading association position statement on second language literacy instruction114
International Reading Association Position Statement on Second-Language Literacy Instruction
  • Most ELL students need more than one year to learn English.
  • Educators need to collaboratively seek out as many ways as possible to support access to initial literacy development in both home and school languages.
  • Remember, literacy strategies which are successful in helping English-only students learn to read in English may not be helpful for ELLs.
  • Teach ELL students the conceptual basis for English spelling patterns
    • Word families
    • Root words
  • Work on memorizing high frequency words.
  • Use graphic organizers to aide comprehension of story sequence, cause and effect, etc.
  • Focus on the vocabulary that carries the logic of the language such as negatives, conjunctions, prepositions and abstract words.
  • Help ELL students distinguish important from unimportant text segments.
  • Since reading success is so dependent on oral language skills, it is imperative to emphasize vocabulary and rich language environments.
  • Teaching word reading skills alone will not suffice!
the spanish alphabet
The Spanish Alphabet
  • 29 letters spell 24 phonemes
  • Highly regular and rule governed, with a few “letras difíciles” that have multiple phoneme-graphic correspondences
  • There are no “double letters”: ch, ll, & rr represent a single phoneme. The ñ comes from the Latin nn.
  • H is silent and u is silent after g unless it carries a “diérisis” (bilingüe, pingüino) and after q (queso)
spanish phonics
Spanish Phonics
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Letter-sound correspondences
  • Spelling patterns
  • Syllabification
  • Diphthongs and syllable juncture
  • Categorization of words according to stressed syllable
  • Rules for the use of written accent marks
english phonics
English Phonics
  • Consonants and vowels
  • Consonant blends and digraphs
  • Long and short vowels
  • R-controlled vowels
  • Vowel digraphs
  • Diphthongs
  • Homophones & homographs
spanish phonemes spelled using multiple graphemes
Spanish Phonemes Spelled Using Multiple Graphemes
  • Vowel phoneme i is written as i and as y (i griega) in diphthongs ending a word (soy, muy)
  • Labiodental /b/ is written as either b or v (haba, ave)
  • /k/ is written as c before a, o, u, or as k or as qu (casa, kiosco, queso)
  • /s/ is written as c before e, i or as s or as z (cerro, silla, zorro)
  • /h/ is written as g before e, i or as j (gigante, jinete) and as x (México, Don Quixote)
  • /y/is written as ie, ll or y (hielo, lleno, yodo)
spanish graphemes that spell multiple phonemes
Spanish Graphemes That Spell Multiple Phonemes
  • The letter b spells the bilabial b as in burro and the labiodental b as in arriba
  • The letter c spells /k/ as in casa and /s/ as in cita.
  • The letter g spells /g/ as in gallo and /h/ as in general
  • The letter y spells the vowel sound i at the end of words as in soy and the consonant sound y as in yegua
spanish in spain and latin america
Spanish in Spain and Latin America
  • The x respresents a number of phonemes: /h/,/x/ and in Mexico /sh/ for words from Náhuatl and Otomí.
  • In Latin America, the ll and y in initial position are pronounced the same (llama, yerno)
  • In Spain, the z before a, o u represents a soft /th/ sound. This sound is also spelled ce & ci. Words ending in z change to c when forming the plural (pez-peces; lápiz-lápices)
spanish spelling patterns

Before a

Before e

Before i

Before o

Before u







Hard g








ge, je

gi, ji













Spanish Spelling Patterns
spanish structural analysis
Spanish Structural Analysis
  • Word derivations: roots, prefixes and suffixes
  • Inflection and agreement (subject-verb, adjectives, possessives)
  • Enclisis (combining two classes of words)
  • Contractions (conjunción)
  • Shortened forms of words (apócope)
  • Compound words
  • Cognates
spanish syllable patterns
Spanish Syllable Patterns
  • A single consonant occurring between vowels is joined to the vowel or vowels that follow.
  • Two separate consonants between vowels are divided.
  • A strong vowel (a,e,o) combined in a syllable with a weak vowel (i, u) forming a diphthong or triphthong are not separated.
  • Consonant blends (consonant with l or r) are not separated
  • When s is in a prefix, it forms a syllable with the prefix
english syllable patterns
English Syllable Patterns
  • Closed: Short vowel ending with consonant
  • Open: Long vowel, no consonant ending
  • Vowel Digraph: vowel spelled with 2+ letters
  • C-le at the ends of words
  • R-controlled vowel
  • Vowel-consonant-e long vowel pattern
  • Idiosyncratic
word study in spanish
Letras difíciles

Parts of speech & changes of function

Singular/plural inflections & noun/adjective agreement

Classification by syllable stress & written accent


Verb tenses, conjugation and agreement

Diminutive and augmentation derivitives (ito, ón, ote, ísimo)

Enclisis & apócope (cualquier, cualquiera, gran, grande)

Word Study in Spanish
word study in dual language classrooms
Picture sorts

Concept sorts

Letter-sound correspondence sorts

Same-vowel word families

Mixed-vowel word families

Word Hunt

Word Bank

Word Wall

High-frequency word study

Word strips

Word Study Notebooks


Word games

Word Study in Dual Language Classrooms
final thought
Final Thought

To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.

- bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress

To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.

- bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress

thank you
Thank you!
  • Julie Esparza Brown

Portland State University

(503) 725-4696

[email protected]