Literacy for Diverse Student Learners. Instructional intervention research that examines a particular form of vocabulary learning by English Language Learners in the context of instruction
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Literacy for Diverse Student Learners • Instructional intervention research that examines a particular form of vocabulary learning by English Language Learners in the context of instruction • Aim is to study vocabulary acquisition, therefore, evaluation of instructional effectiveness is incidental to this aim. • Such studies are desirable in this field given the lack of a coherent theoretical framework that links child development, language learning, linguistic context, and academic learning.
Is cognate awareness instruction effective in promoting English vocabulary development among 3rd and 5th grade Spanish speaking ELL’s? Maria Carlo University of Miami Diane August Center for Applied Linguistics Chris Barr University of Houston Walter Fajet, University of Miami Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Background • One strategy believed to be successful in promoting the rapid acquisition of vocabulary by ELLs involves teaching children about the morphological structure of words. • Researchers believe that it is beneficial for ELLs if instruction on the structural analysis of words includes making students aware of the cross-linguistic morphological relationships between words in their two languages (García & Nagy, 1993; Nagy, García, Durgunoglu, & Hancin-Bhatt,1993; Jiménez et al., 1996; Nation 2001).
Continued • This involves making students aware of words that are cognates (words that are spelt alike and have similar meanings in two languages), and making them aware of similarities between derivational morphemes in the two languages. • (e.g, motivación-motivation; edificio-edifice; preocupado-preocupied; enfermo-infirm)
Preliminary study • In our previous work we found that 4th grade ELLs had superior vocabulary performance on English words that were cognates to Spanish relative to English words that were not cognates and were matched in frequency and part of speech to the tested cognates. • Moreover a composite measure of Spanish orthographic knowledge, breadth of word knowledge and morphological awareness related to performance on cognates but not to noncognates.
Research Question • Can an intervention developed to teach cognate awareness to Spanish/English bilingual 3rd and 5th graders improve their learning of English words that have cognate status in Spanish? • Does the cognate recognition strategy transfer to other cognates that have not been instructed?
Subjects • 130 (122 completed program) 3rd grade Spanish-speaking students • 128 (105 completed program) 5th grade Spanish-speaking students • All designated as English Language Learners • Three public schools in Miami that offered Spanish maintenance for 45 minutes 3 times a week (2 schools implemented at each grade level) • Majority within each school were Latino/a • Schools had obtained grades of at least B
English Pre & Post-intervention Cognate Awareness Test (48 items) Extract the Base (28 items) WLPB Passage Comprehension Pre-intervention Only WLPB Letter-word ID WLPB Picture-Word Vocabulary WLPB Listening Comprehension Post-intervention Only SVT Cognate Comprehension (24 items) Spanish Pre-intervention Only Extract the Base (28 items) WLPB Picture-Word Vocabulary WLPB Letter-word ID WLPB Listening Comprehension WLPB Passage Comprehension Measures
Researcher Developed Measures: Cognate Awareness Test • Developed to measure students’ awareness of Spanish cognates as a source of information for inferring meanings of unknown English words. • Examines whether Native Spanish Speaking children are better able to recognize the meaning of unfamiliar English words if these words have a corresponding sound, spelling, and meaning in Spanish
Researcher Developed Measures: Cognate Awareness Test • Example: edifice • building • committee • island • Congress
Researcher Developed Measures: Extract the Base Measures children’s knowledge of derivational morphology (their awareness of the rules by which words change from one part of speech to another). Example: recognition > recognize (Test adapted from Carlisle, 1988)
Extract the Base: Scoring • score of 0--Incorrect response associated with copying the derived form, providing a translation or a random letter string • score of 1--partially correct indicating an attempt to extract a base or transform the word in some way but resulting in a letter string that was not viable either phonologically or orthographically . • score of 2--partially correct extraction of the base expressed through a phonologically or orthographically viable letter string. • score of 3--completely correct base
Design 3rd & 5th grade Study • Recruited all 3rd and 5th grade Spanish speaking ELLs in a school to participate in an after school program and provided free transportation to any family needing it. • Cognate intervention vs. FCAT Preparation course (Preparing Students for the FCAT: Thematic, Standards-Based Instruction Grades 4-5 published by Carson Dellosa) • 4 treatment & 4 control classrooms in each school. • Stratified random assignment of students to conditions on the basis of WLPB measures in Spanish and English.
Delivery of Treatment and Control Curricula • 6 weeks (24 lessons) • Small groups of 8-10 students • Delivered by school teachers who received 8 hours of training in 4 sessions. (2 pre-treatment and 2 during treatment) • One hour after-school 4 times a week
Cognate Intervention • 3 units on Exploration: Antarctica, Coral Reefs, & Space • General lesson on cognates and learning to recognize them on basis of phonology, orthography, and shared meaning. • Target words consisted of cognates or noncognates • Units open with a theme-related video and biography of an explorer. • Pre-teaching of target words using translation equivalents, child-friendly definitions, and extension activities such as those suggested by Beck and colleagues. • Words then presented in informational texts with comprehension questions inserted at critical points within the text. All reading conducted as group and orally by the teacher
Hypotheses: • Positive effect of cognate instruction • Treatment > Control on instructed cognates • Treatment > Control on non-instructed cognates • Treatment > Control on instructed noncognates • Treatment=Control on non-instructed noncognates • Effect of word type favoring cogntates • Effect of English Word Knowledge (EWK) and Spanish Word Knowledge (SWK). EWK and SWK are composite of WLPB Letter-Word ID; Picture-Word ID; Extract the Base • Interaction of Rx with SWK & EWK • SWK should not predict to noncognates
Third Grade Performance on Cognate Awareness Test as a Function of Time of Test, Word Type, and Condition
Fifth Grade Performance on Cognate Awareness Test as a Function of Time of Test, Word Type, and Condition
Third Grade Post-test Performance on Cognate Test by Word Type and Instruction
Fifth Grade Post-test Performance on Cognate Test by Word Type and Instruction
Summary • Obtained positive effect for treatment on instructed cognates and noncognates • No strong evidence of transfer of cognate recognition strategy to uninstructed cognates • Spanish Word Knowledge (SWK) predicts to cognates only
Improving Knowledge of Educational Effectiveness for ELLs • Large scale evaluations of programs implemented with ELLs • Awareness that ELL is a label that serves administrative needs and that the reclassification of children into FEP does not make them comparable to monolingual English speakers. • Studies that clarify how effect of instruction relates to linguistic, developmental, contextual factors particular to L2 populations
Acquiring Literacy in English National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentDepartment of Education/Office of Educational Research and Improvement http://www.cal.org/acqlit/