Development of English Vocabulary fo

Instructional Strategies for
Developing English Oral
Language Abilities in
Young ELLs
Nora Resendez, M.Ed.
Project Coordinator, Project WORLD
August 19th, 2014
Discuss Increasing Number of English Language Learners in American
Why English Vocabulary Acquisition and Development are Important
How English Oral Language Proficiency Levels Impact Instruction
Instructional Strategies and Examples of providing instruction to
increase English Oral Language Development
Questions & Wrap-up
Characteristics of ELL Population
of all ELLs reside in six states:
 Arizona, California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois (Payán & Nettles, 2008)
or higher growth of ELLs 1995-2005
Growth in Latino ELL children over last decade
from Spanish-dominant homes(Goldenberg, 2008)
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
• ONLY 30% of ELLs
demonstrate grade level
reading abilities
What we know about vocabulary
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
 Direct links have documented the fewer number of words a child has at age 3 to
later reading and academic difficulties
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
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).
Oral Language Development
Use a sentence stem.
Model a correct response.
Choral repetition of a phrase or word.
Repeat what the child says and expand the response.
Sentence Stems
In the summer I like to________
Swim, play outside, ride my bike.
Miguel say, in the summer I like to ________.
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 _____
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.
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.
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
Teachers of ELLs must teach academic language.

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