Thursday, April 5, 2012

Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades

Gersten, R., Baker, S.K., Shanahan, T., Linan-Thompson, S., Collins, P., & Scarcella, R. (2007). Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades: A Practice Guide (NCEE 2007-4011). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

This is a Practice Guide that highlights current effective strategies being used in classrooms with English Learners.  The purpose of the guide is to give specific recommendations to administrators and teachers based on evidence of research.  Five recommendations are listed as showing strong evidence of effectiveness:  1. Screen for reading problems and monitor progress 2. Provide intensive small-group reading interventions 3. Provide extensive and varied vocabulary instruction 4. Develop academic English 5. Schedule regular peer-assisted learning opportunities
Since my action research question focuses on English speaking students collaborating with English learners as peer-to-peer mentors, I reviewed this section in depth.  
"Ensure that teachers of English learners devote approximately 90 minutes a week to instructional activities in which pairs of students at different ability levels or different English language proficiencies work together on academic tasks in a structured fashion. These activities should practice and extend material already taught." (p. 28)  

"Partner work is an opportunity for students to practice and extend what the 
teacher has taught during regular instruction. Partner work is excellent for tasks in 
which correct and incorrect responses can be clearly determined (word and text reading and phonological awareness activities, such as identifying sounds in words)." (p. 28)

"In three of the five studies, students worked in pairs to practice, consolidate, and extend prereading, decoding, comprehension, and spelling skills. In each of the studies student pairs, with different abilities in either reading or English language proficiency, were provided with clear instructional activities and taught procedures for working effectively with peers. Teachers used guides that included prompt cards and activities for students." (p. 28)

"Also consider the use of partnering for English language development instruction.
The Panel members know that there was no experimental research on this topic, 
but we still consider this to be a promising practice." (p. 29)

This report helped confirm that I'm on the right track with my research question!  Peer to peer mentoring works if done correctly.  I was also interested to read that there is not experimental research specifically on paring English Dominant and English Learners.  I believe there must be some information out there from teachers that have tried this.  This can't be a completely original idea!

Calhoon, M. B., Al Otaiba, S., Cihak, D., King, A., & Avalos, A. C. (2006). Effects of a peer-mediated program on reading skill acquisition for two-way bilingual first grade classrooms. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Calderón, M., Hertz-Lazarowitz, R., & Slavin, R. (1998). Effects of bilingual cooperative integrated reading and composition on students transitioning from Spanish to English reading. Elementary School Journal, 99, 153–165.

Cirino, P. T., Vaughn, S., Linan-Thompson, 
S., Cardenas-Hagan, E., Fletcher, J. M., & Francis, D. J. (2007). One year follow-up 
outcomes of Spanish and English interventions for English language learners at-risk for reading problems. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Saenz, L. M., Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (2005). Peer-assisted learning strategies for 
English language learners with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 71, 231– 247.

No comments:

Post a Comment