Enhancing Oral and Literate Skills for At-Risk ELL Children March 16, 2012 California Speech-Language-Hearing Association San Jose, California
Presenters Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, Ph.D. CCC-SLP Professor, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology California State University, Sacramento LSHS, San Juan Unified School District Robert A. Pieretti, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology California State University, Sacramento LSHS, Sacramento City Unified School District
Presenters Ploua Vue. B.S. Graduate Student, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology California State University, Sacramento Mary Martineau. B.S. Graduate Student, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology California State University, Sacramento
Full presentation available: • www.hhs.csus.edu/homepages/SPA/Roseberry • Click on Workshops • Follow the link to this handout
Workshop Objectives; participants will: 1. Discuss laws impacting service delivery 2. Describe the impact of ELL status on students with LLD (language learning disabilities) 3. Describe general intervention strategies that can be used to increase language skills across settings 4. Discuss how to tie therapy into the general education curriculum
5. Identify practical strategies for increasing the oral and literate language skills of preschool and early elementary school students 6. Summarize ideas for helping increase family involvement 7. Define and discuss Response to Intervention
I. INTRODUCTION At the first author’s previous school, we had a great deal of diversity; 91% of our students were students of color; 9% were White. Many came from welfare homes. The school has 900-1000 students.
In Elk Grove Unified School District as a whole… • Children represent between 80-90 different language groups • They come from all over the world. • Sacramento, California and New York have the largest numbers of immigrants from the former USSR in the entire United States
Thus, it is the overall goal of this workshop to present ideas and strategies that are: • widely applicable to ELL students from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds in both Special Education and RtI settings • useable by monolingual English-speaking clinicians as well as bilingual clinicians, and • easy, inexpensive, and fun to implement!
As much as possible, the ideas presented will be: • Practical for use on “Monday morning” • Useful for tying in with the general curriculum of the school • Representative of evidence-based practice
The ideas presented will be applicable to a range of settings, including: • Speech-language therapy pull-out rooms • Self-contained special education classrooms • General education classrooms
The ideas can be used with… • Young ELLs who are at risk for a diagnosis of LLD • Young ELLs who already have IEPs because they have been diagnosed with a LLD
You are encouraged to: • Share these ideas with general education teachers as much as possible • Help general education teachers to understand that the more they help us implement the ideas presented, the faster our students will progress!
II. LANGUAGE-LEARNING DISABILITIES IN ELL STUDENTS Legal Considerations • The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2004) states that students who speak a second language must be assessed in both the primary (first) language and English • These students must show delays in BOTH the primary language and English in order to be diagnosed as having LLD (language-learning disability). • An ELL student has a true LLD if he experiences difficulties learning in BOTH languages • A LLD affects the student’s ability to learn any language
The student with age-appropriate L1 skills and low scores in English is NOT LLD and is not a candidate for special education (Roseberry-McKibbin, 2008; Kohnert, 2008). • We must make teachers and administrators aware of the difference between a student with normal underlying language learning ability who needs more time and exposure to English (non special education) and the student who is truly LLD (qualifies for special education).
There is increased focus on diverse students in our schools… • English language learners now represent 9.6% of all students enrolled in public pre-kindergarten through grade 12 classes in the U.S.; 67% of these students are enrolled at the elementary school level • The No Child Left Behind Act (2001) has put strong emphasis on achievement for low-income, diverse, and English language learner students
Silliman, Wilkinson, & Brea-Spahn, (2004) stated that: • The sharp increase in enrollment in American public schools coexists with a crisis of illiteracy in America, which is particularly regrettable given the changed sociodemographic characteristics of American classrooms. • A growing achievement gap exists among minority and nonminority students, those from poorer versus richer families, those whose native language is English, in contrast to those whose first language is not English, and those identified for special services versus those in regular education
No Child Left Behind… • Addresses inequities in several ways • Students with disabilities must participate in state accountability systems for reading and math in grades 3-8 • Accommodations are allowed for these students as necessary • Schools must show adequate annual progress toward all students being proficient in math and reading, or the school will face penalties.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004): • LEAs (local education agencies) are allowed to eliminate the IQ-achievement discrepancy gap that formerly was mandated in order to qualify students for many special education services • There is a greater emphasis on pre-referral services • Schools may now use more funds for early intervention
There is a special focus… • On children in kindergarten through 3rd grade who don’t technically qualify for special education but who need additional support. • This includes ELL students There is also a special focus on children who are having difficulty developing their basic reading skills, especially in the early grades.
Response to Intervention-An Opportunity? • Under IDEA, federal funds can be allocated for early intervening services to provide academic assistance from special educators to students at risk for academic failure • Students who demonstrate improvement need different instruction, not special education….
ELLs are frequently designated as struggling readers who are placed in undifferentiated remediation programs with native English speakers who have scored poorly on standardized reading tests (Harper et al., 2008).
Now more schools across the U.S. are implementing RTI Regular education classroom (Tier 1) ▼ Noncategorical, nonspecial education interventions (after-school math and/or reading academy; REWARDS reading program, etc.) (Tier 2) ▼ Special education with IEP (Tier 3)
Diehl & Silliman, 2009; Language and Communication Disorders in Children) • RtI is a method of service delivery that tries to “catch” kids before they end up needing special education • There is especially an emphasis on reading intervention in the early grades • Great because it takes us away from a “wait to fail” system and instead has a “supporting success” orientation • Goal: PREVENT problems later
It is easy to be afraid that being involved in RtI will create more work for us! • But ultimately, it will make our jobs easier because fewer children will be on IEPs • More students will receive support BEFORE we are asked to formally evaluate them for special education
If we do not help ALL students succeed in school, we impact their futures…
Some places in Virginia and California… • Build prison cells according to the number of 3rd graders who do not read at grade level • For example, in 2012, if 500 third graders do not read well, 500 prison cells are made available to house these children 10-15 years later
As SLPs, we can collaborate in the schools to emphasize • Justice and equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of race, SES, or primary language • Leveling the playing field
Blevins 2011 CSHA: • In Santa Ana Unified, they had so many preschool referrals that it would have cost $2 million to hire SLPs to test and treat the kids • Many were ELL—mostly Spanish-speaking • She created a preschool RtI program
“ At risk” preschoolers were seen by SLPAs for 6 weeks • They received language intervention • At the end of the 6 weeks, 95% of the children were fine • Only about 5% needed IEPs
Gillam 2011 CSHA • We are WAAAAY overidentifying ELL kindergarteners for IEPs • Assessed Spanish-speaking Ks at beginning and end of K (English and Spanish) • Of 167 “at risk” at beginning of K, only 21 really needed IEPs at end of K
Thus…. • It behooves us to work with young (preschool and kindergarten) ELLs to ensure that they experience as much success as possible
A. Increasing Oral Language Skills in Preschool ELL Children with LLD • Research shows that even children as young as 3 years of age reject peers whom they perceive as “different” (Rice, Sell, & Hadley, 1991; Tabors, 2008; Weiss, 2002). • Thus, a major goal for ELL preschoolers with LLD is to successfully interact socially with their peers.
With ELL preschool children who are LLD… • It is crucial to increase their ability to interact verbally with peers. • We have said that ideally, these children will receive intervention in L1. However, the reality is that many of them are in daycare or preschool settings where only English is spoken.
These children face the challenge of learning to successfully interact with peers in a language that is unfamiliar to them. If these children have a LLD in addition to not speaking English, they have “double jeopardy.”
How do we help ELL preschoolers with LLD succeed in preschool/daycare settings? • First, professionals such as SLPs, teachers, and childcare workers cannot just assume that these preschool children will automatically engage in interactions with their typically-developing peers. Research has shown that these children need the adults around them to facilitate language interaction opportunities with peers.
Specific Suggestions • When an ELL LLD child asks an adult for something, the adult can redirect the child to a typically-developing peer in the classroom. The adult can teach the child specific strategies for interacting with the peer. • For example, if a Ryan, a Mandarin-speaking child comes and tugs on an adult’s arm and points to the bathroom, the teacher could say “Ryan, go ask your friend Mark to go to the bathroom with you. Walk up to him and say ‘Mark, bathroom please’ and take his hand.” • In this way, Ryan would be encouraged to interact with a peer and also learn an effective strategy for gaining a peer’s attention.
Tabors (2008) coordinated the Harvard Language Diversity Project, a research activity of the New England Quality Research Center on Head Start • Tabors’ research yielded some excellent, practical, evidence-based strategies for providing additional support to ELL preschool children.
Tabors, P.O. (2008). One child, two languages: A guide for childhood educators of children learning English as a second language (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing • www.brookespublishing.com
Tabors recommended that teachers give children some immediate, routine phrases to use to initiate conversation with peers. • If an ELL child with LLD can be taught such words/phrases as “Hi” “How’s it going?” “Can I play?,” they immediately open themselves up to more language exposure and interaction with other children.
Another practical strategy: • Professionals can ask parents of ELL LLD children to teach them a few key words in the children’s home language. • The research of Tabors and her colleagues showed that it was extremely helpful during the first few weeks of preschool if the adults could say words like bathroom, eat, listen in the children’s first languages. • This gave the children a sense of connection with the teachers and helped them learn preschool routines faster.
Tabors and her Harvard colleagues also recommended that: • Adults give the preschoolers a great deal of verbal “space” for the first few weeks. • In the Harvard project, the teachers welcomed the children and smiled at them, but they did not overwhelm them by issuing directives (unless necessary) or calling on them too much during the first few weeks.
When the teachers did eventually begin addressing the children directly, they “doubled the message” by accompanying their words with a gesture, action, or directed gaze. • This redundance enhanced the children’s comprehension of what the teachers were saying, and increased the children’s confidence.
One of the most helpful things for the preschool children…. • Was the establishment of a consistent set of routines that were simple and used daily. For example, things like snack time, outside play, cleanup time, and circle time allowed the ELL preschoolers to immediately act like members of the group.
Another successful strategy that helped the l ELL preschoolers fit into the group faster and socialize more: • Teachers always structured small group activities to include a mix of ELL and monolingual English-speaking children. • This was very helpful to the ELL children because they did not have to negotiate entry into the groups; they were automatically included.
Once included in the activities, the ELL children gained more exposure to English and more opportunities to interact with other children.
B. Increasing Literacy Skills • Reading, writing, spelling • • Phonological awareness • • Oral language • • Foundation is environmental experiences and exposure
Begin with phonological awareness: • Phonological awareness is the ability to consciously reflect on and manipulate the sound system of a language. • It is foundational to success in reading, writing, and spelling (Justice, 2010; Ukrainetz et al., 2009). • Preschoolers who are ELL and have LLD especially need to develop phonological awareness skills (Brice & Brice, 2009; Roseberry-McKibbin, 2007).
The research of Ukrainetz et al (2009) showed that: • ELL kindergarteners (including those from low-SES Hispanic homes) who were exposed to phonological awareness activities over the course of a year made good progress in reading • The children with moderate deficits benefited more than the children with mild deficits