Instructional Strategies for Developing English Oral Language Abilities in Young ELLs Nora Resendez, M.Ed. Project Coordinator, Project WORLD UTPA August 19th, 2014 Overview 1. Discuss Increasing Number of English Language Learners in American Schools 2. Why English Vocabulary Acquisition and Development are Important 3. How English Oral Language Proficiency Levels Impact Instruction 4. Instructional Strategies and Examples of providing instruction to increase English Oral Language Development 5. Questions & Wrap-up Characteristics of ELL Population •61% of all ELLs reside in six states: Arizona, California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois (Payán & Nettles, 2008) •300% or higher growth of ELLs 1995-2005 •39% Growth in Latino ELL children over last decade •79% from Spanish-dominant homes(Goldenberg, 2008) •33% or more Latino children live in poverty (Lugo-Neris, Jackson, & Goldstein, 2010) Who are English language learners (ELLs)? • ELLs Students who are learning English as a second language and another language is spoken in the home. • ELLs often enter formal school settings with lower level skills in both languages (Hoff, 2013) • Limited exposure to English prior to school entry puts these children at a disadvantage across language and literacy domains compared to their monolingual peers (Mancilla-Martinez, Pan & Vagh, 2011) • Deficits in ELLs oral language abilities at school entry often impact their academic outcomes across their school career (Hammer, Jia & Uckihoshi, 2011; Lonigan, Farver, Nakamoto & Eppe, 2013) 2009 National Association Educational Progress: Reading ELL Snapshot • 70% of ELLs demonstrate reading skills which are below grade level classroom standards • ONLY 30% of ELLs demonstrate grade level reading abilities What we know about vocabulary acquisition… • ELL children enter school with different levels of English vocabulary exposure and proficiency • By third grade differences in the number of vocabulary words a child knows can be as wide as 5,000 words • Some children acquire 10 words a day on average while others may learn fewer than two • Vocabulary development at the age of 3 is predictive of future academic success Direct links have documented the fewer number of words a child has at age 3 to later reading and academic difficulties Background Closing the gap between children with sufficient knowledge and those with limited knowledge may depend on effective instructional practices that accelerate vocabulary learning while building content knowledge (Hirsch; Walsh, 2003). Oral language Development in ELLs • A large body of research documents effective strategies for monolingual students, but far less is known about developing oral language skills for minority ELL students(August & Shanahn, 2006) • More evidence for effective instructional strategies are needed for ELLs • Teachers can begin to remediate oral language differences by acknowledging the presence of child-level characteristic differences (Mancilla- Martinez, & Lesaux, 2010) • Skills in English and Spanish may not be proportionate within a given child or across children in a classroom • ELL children often require more explicit instruction in vocabulary and emergent literacy skill areas • Identification of instructional practices which target educational experiences & optimize success (Lonigan et al., 2013) • Understanding levels of oral language proficiency and how differences in levels can impact instruction strategies Levels of Language Proficiency: Implications for Instruction Preproduction • The Silent Period, lasting a few weeks to a few months for ELLs acquiring a second language. • Students observe and learn about phonology, grammar and vocabulary of the new language. Visual Cues • Association of spoken words with pictures (if picture books are used), acquisition of learning grammar, rhythm, vocabulary, and phonology of the new language. Levels of Language Proficiency (Continued) Early Language Production • Students use short words, phrases, and labels to communicate. • Students make more sophisticated attempts to communicate. The use of longer phrases and sentences signals the transition into intermediate fluency. Background Knowledge • Development of contextual and content-specific vocabulary. • Reinforcement of comprehension with respect to varied forms and uses of language. • Increased listening comprehension skills and ability to communicate in multiple ways for different purposes. Effective Teaching Strategies • Teach children how to work in a pair. • In paired activities, pair children by English language ability (e.g., more proficient student + less proficient student). Change pairs across time. • Scaffold instruction on difficult tasks (use picture/concept cards, theme card, book illustrations). Remember: The goal is to develop children’s oral language abilities. 11 Small Group Instruction • Provide small group instruction • Offer multiple opportunities for conversations before, during, and after reading between both the teacher and peers. Visual Cues • Provide concrete visual cues with multiple examples of targeted vocabulary Picture Walks through Books • What is going on here? • I see a ____. • The dog and the man will _____. • A ____ will ride in the taxi. • I will learn about _______ (topic/theme). 14 Oral Language Development Scaffolds • Use a sentence stem. • Model a correct response. • Choral repetition of a phrase or word. • Repeat what the child says and expand the response. 15 15 Sentence Stems • In the summer I like to________ Swim, play outside, ride my bike. • Miguel say, in the summer I like to ________. 16 Model a Correct Response • Making predictions: • T: I might learn about the weather. I might learn about the seasons. • T: Turn and tell your neighbor what you will learn from this book. • Say, I might learn about _____ 17 Choral Repetition • T: What happens during the fall? Yes, the weather changes. • Everyone say: The weather changes. • T: What will happen in the Spring? Yes, the plants will grow. • Everyone say: The plants will grow. 18 Expand Children’s Responses • T: Why are they wearing swim suits? • C: So they can swim. • T: Yes, so they can swim. Where do they swim? • C: Beach. • T: Yes, they swim at the beach. Everyone say: They swim at the beach. 19 The Future… • The achievement gap that exists between ELLs and their counterparts will widen without explicit instruction in school. • Teachers of ELLs must be knowledgeable of issues pertaining to oral language proficiency, vocabulary acquisition, and their relation to comprehension. • Teachers of ELLs must teach academic language.