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A solid foundation of early academic literacy for English


A solid foundation of early academic literacy for English Learner success A Preschool -Third grade approach for Spanish-Speaking English Learners – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A solid foundation of early academic literacy for English

A solid foundation of early academic literacy for
English Learner success
  • A Preschool -Third grade approach
  • for Spanish-Speaking English Learners

Laurie Olsen, Ph.D.
The Context
  • Increasing Hispanic and immigrant population in
    the state and nation
  • Lack of English and lack of strong literacy
    continues to be a barrier to participation,
    employment, education
  • An enduring and increasing achievement gap in
    K-12 for Latinos and English Learners

Children who start behind, stay behind.
  • Skills in kindergarten predict academic
    achievement in later years
  • Initial gaps in readiness skills between EL and
    English proficient children do not narrow by 3rd
    grade - and often grow
  • Initial readiness gaps between ethnic groups
    widen by 3rd grade

National county data
  • High quality early childhood education reduces
    disparities in outcomes
  • Experience in preschool leads to entering
    kindergarten more school ready
  • Strengths in social expression and academic
    skills are strong predictors of academic success
    through 5th grade
  • Self-regulation (rated high by Kinder teachers)
    is not linked to later achievement

Defining generic high quality ECE is not
  • High quality ECE reduces disparities in
    educational outcomes overall.
  • BUT access is a challenge for low-income families
    who are not English fluent
  • A quality program for English Learners requires
    something beyond standard indicators of quality
    (safety, developmental, low ratios, partnership
    with parents)

  • High quality preK contributes to meaningfully
    higher levels of school achievement among low SES
    children, including low SES Hispanics -- However,
    there is limited impact in the area of language
  • Substantial short-term positive outcomes. But a
    Fade out effect of PreK and Full day Kinder
    (60-80 of cognitive gains dissipate by Spring of
    first grade - by 3rd grade mostly gone)
  • For English Learners, the gap narrows but does
    not close as a result of preschool

  • Lack of preschool models addressing the specific
    needs of English Learners and their families
  • Confusion about what the needs of English
    Learners are in early years
  • Preparing FOR Kindergarten is not enough - the
    two systems need better alignment and connection

This workshop
  • Overview of research on language development for
    English Learners in early years
  • Share the SEAL model and approach now being
  • Describe the implementation in two school
  • Discuss implications for the field

From the research
  • Learning to speak and use language is a major
    task of the early years - development of language
    is wired into the human brain
  • There is a developmental continuum of
    language/literacy development in young children
    (birth to 8)
  • This window of language development is a unique
    opportunity for development of bilingualism
  • Young children engaged in two language worlds
    have unique needs

Early language development
  • Experiences in infancy establish habits of
    seeking, noticing and incorporating experience,
    as well as schemas for categorizing and thinking
    about experience
  • Within the first few years, nearly all typically
    developing children develop mastery of the basis
    for language

  • By age 3 children have acquired the basic rules
    of grammar, understand much spoken language,
    understand as many as a thousand words and
    produce several hundred
  • By age 4 The system of language is fairly well
    established children ask questions to develop
    meaning about the world, which is encoded in
    language vocabulary grows

  • A childs home language is a crucial foundation
    for social interactions, cognitive development,
    learning about her world, and emerging literacy
  • Language of the home is vehicle for making and
    establishing meaningful communicative
    relationships, to construct knowledge and test
  • Language is a socio-emotional and cultural
    phenomenon - key to identity formation

Bilingual development
  • Bilingual development is a common and normal
    childhood experience.
  • Infants distinguish languages and interpret
    contextual cues to learn which language is
    appropriate within given contexts
  • Children with two languages show greater tissue
    density in areas associated with language,
    memory, focus - and more neural activity in parts
    of the brain associated with language processing.

Myths and misunderstandings
  • Learning two languages will confuse children and
    lead to delays or disorders
  • With less exposure to each language, neither will
    become developed fully - and they will not attain
    proficiency equal to monolingual children in
    either language

I. Importance of rich oral language
development in young children
  • Verbal interaction is essential in the
    construction of knowledge
  • Producing language encourages learners to process
    language more deeply than when just listening or
  • Oral language is the bridge to academic language
    associated with school and the development of
    literacy --

Early Catastrophe The 30 million word gap
  • Vocabulary a child uses at 3 is predictive of
    language skills at age 9, and directly predictive
    of reading comprehension
  • Trends in amount of talk, vocabulary growth,
    systems of interaction using language is
    well-established by age 3
  • Words heard by 3 year olds
  • professional families 215,000
  • working class families 125,000
  • families on welfare
  • Hart and Risley, 2003

National Literacy Panel on Language Minority
Children and Youth (2008)
  • Oral language development is critical to
    literacy and is often and increasingly
    overlooked in early literacy instruction and

Implications for early education
  • Amount, degree and TYPE of oral interaction is a
    big factor in early years
  • Important to stimulate the talk that allows
    language learners to explore and clarify
    concepts, name their world, wonder and describe

II. Language develops in context
  • Young children develop language through play,
    social interaction, listening, experimenting with
    producing language - in the context of going
    about their lives -
  • Much of the early literacy curriculum is
    decontextualized language arts - phonics,

III. Development of the home language is
  • Home language development is vulnerable
  • Children in English immersion ECE tend to lose
    ability to communicate in L1, prefer English,
    frequently develop communication problems with
    extended families and experience depressed
    academic achievement in English

  • Myth there is no research base, its just a
    matter of politics and opinion
  • Myth Time spent in home language is wasted time
    for developing English
  • Myth More and earlier immersion in English is
    the best way to acquire English

  • Children have more extended and complex
    vocabulary and language skills if their home
    language is developed
  • Bilingual children perform better than
    monolinguals on select cognitive tasks
  • English Learners make more academic progress when
    they have the opportunity to learn in both their
    home language and English

Counterproductive common preschool practices
  • Get them into English before Kinder as a primary
    goal of preschool.
  • Ending use of home language (it is actually
    detrimental and disruptive to language
    development, family relationships and identity
  • Informal, random use of two languages

The SEAL Model Sobrato Early Academic Literacy
The Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Mission to help create and sustain a vibrant
    and healthy community where all Silicon Valley
    residents have equal opportunity to live, work
    and be enriched

Six foundational components
  • Academic language and literacy in English and
  • Rich oral language development
  • Text-rich environment and curriculum
  • Language developed through enriched curriculum
  • Affirming learning environment
  • Teachers and Parents working together
  • Preschool through third grade!

1 Academic Language and Literacy in
English and Spanish
  • Use and development of the childs home
    language will benefit the child in acquiring
    English (CDE Principles for Promoting Language,
    Literacy and Learning in Preschool English
    Learners - 2007)
  • . but How?

Defining the language model
  • PreK and Kinder Minimum of 50 in home language
    - minimum of 20 of English throughout the
  • Home language for rich initial concept
  • English builds upon the home language
  • Intentional focus on the relationship between the
    two languages - and on transfer
  • Languages separated

Requires information about the development of
BOTH languages
  • SEAL Preschool teachers use PreLAS assessment in
    BOTH languages
  • Developed typologies/profiles describing degrees
    of bilingualism Spanish only Spanish/dominant
    and English receptive Balanced bilingual
    English dominant, Spanish receptive English only.

2 Rich oral language development
  • Four domains of language oral language is
  • CDE Preschool Foundations
  • Engage children in using language
  • Enrich the language they hear
  • Work with parents on oral language development
    strategies with their children
  • Chants, rhymes, songs

3 Text-rich environment and curriculum
  • Active engagement with books and writing
    (children and parents)
  • Meaningful interactions with print media
  • Talking about books contributes to comprehension,
    vocabulary AND to oral language
  • Seeing self in books is crucial to literacy
  • Purchased books for variety of genre, linked to
    themes, bilingual

4 Language developed through enriched
  • Language as a vehicle for learning and expression
  • Emphasis on ACADEMIC language
  • To close achievement gap requires access to full
  • Equity issue
  • Science and the arts are powerful subjects and
    opportunities for language development
  • Thematic units

5 Affirming Learning Environment
  • Affective filter and language learning
  • The HIGHEST expectations
  • A culture and climate of respect and inclusion -
    culturally responsive classrooms
  • Relationship between healthy socio-emotional
    development and sense of safety

  • Strong home-school partnerships
  • Linguistic and cultural congruity
  • Care with messages about relative worth of family
    languages and cultures
  • Literacy practices of parents are correlated with
    later success in English for children who are
    LOTE - so strengthening language practices in
    families is an important part of early education
    (encourage use and development of home language)

6 Teachers and Parents work together
  • Education for ELs is enhanced when schools and
    families partner around childrens education
  • Parents can facilitate literacy development by
    using the language they know best and by using it
    in varied and extensive ways
  • School need to address barriers to involvement
  • Relationship between school and home is a
    crucial factor in healthy development of
    identity, and sense of belonging.

Attention to PreK - K school transition and
  • Two different systems - little connection
  • Preparation for academic success - kindergarten
    readiness is too low for academic success
  • The transition itself is a vulnerable time - need
    strategies and policies to support transition
  • Period from ages 3 to eight is critical for
    language development

The PreK-3 movement
  • Public schools nationwide are increasingly
    serving more 4 year olds and even 3 year olds
  • Instead of how to prepare children in ECE for K-
    view it as an articulated and connected schooling
  • Systems based integrated approach
  • Move away from separate notions of ECE and K-12 -
    focus on alignment (horizontal, vertical,
  • North Carolina/ Foundation for Child

Structure of SEAL pilot
  • 8 preschools (community based and state-funded
    preschools) on 4 elementary school sites in
    Redwood City School District and San Jose Unified
    School District
  • Cohort begins in preschool and will be followed
    through third grade

Working with the sites
  • Components are the foundation
  • No one size fits all, exact replication model
    or process
  • SEAL Lead teams reflect on their practices, build
    on their strengths, identify and plan to address
  • TWBI, ABE and SEI

The SEAL process
  • Worked closely with district to align work and
  • Set up an infrastructure of support
  • Reflective practice - continuing throughout the
    life of the pilot
  • Deep immersion in research, access to top
    research and researchers in the field,
  • focused on data

Professional Development
  • Silvia Duque Reyes, Side by Side
  • Kathy Escamilla, Literacy Squared - GLAD and
    PreK GLAD
  • California Reading and Literacy Project -
    Transfer and Houghton-Mifflin
  • Strategies for oral language development through
  • Grade-level and cross-grade collaboration time -
    BY PROGRAM and integrated across programs

TWBI-ABE-SEI Basic educational principles
apply across early education settings.
  • Language development should occur in context
  • Developmental/play based preschool
  • Emphasis on rich and academic oral language
  • L1 developed to extent can be done - and always
  • Resources for enriched environment and books/text
  • Parent/home/school connection
  • More TIME - full day programs, multi-year summer
    bridge programs
  • Small ratios
  • Home visits (Parents as Teachers)

Use and work with local resources
  • Schmahl Science Workshops
  • Bilingual Authors
  • Families United for Literacy and Learning
  • Early Childhood Language Development Institute
    (SMCOE) for preschool providers and parents

Build connections across the PreK and K-3 systems
  • Articulation meetings and visits PreK-K
  • Support families and children in transitioning
    between and across the systems
  • Summer Bridge programs engage both grade-levels
    working together in the NEW setting
  • Seek professional development, assessments and
    strategies that can build similar learning
    conditions across the grades
  • Through data, research dialogue, build a SHARED
    VISION PreK - 3

The Evaluation/Research
  • Dr. Kathryn Lindholm-Leary
  • Longitudinal design following cohorts of students
    from entering preschool through third grade
  • Data points/analysis - PreK entry, K entry, First
    grade entry, end of third grade

Student Measures Pre K
  • Desired Results DRDP Revise (Spanish/English)
  • Pre LAS (Spanish/English)
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
  • Kindergarten School Readiness Checklist

Student Measures K ?
  • Social Rating Scale
  • Self-Description Questionaire
  • Lindholm-Leary Student Attitude Scale
  • CST
  • Aprenda - Reading
  • STS

Classroom measures
  • Preschool - ECERS-R and ECERS-E
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) -
    measures emotional and instructional climate
  • Language Use in Classroom
  • Staff quality and training

Family Context
  • Adaptation from ECLS Longitudinal Student and
    Lindholm-Leary Parent Scales - focus on language
    and literacy practices
  • Family involvement in school and childs education

Between now and 2014.
  • Videos of classroom practices
  • Reflection tools/observation tools
  • Readers
  • Research updates as data on cohort becomes
  • Information on replication forums
  • Visits to the sites

Implications for the field
Importance of EL specific models and approaches
  • Professional development is essential
  • Build capacity across the system and partners to
    understand and respond to EL early education needs

Dont accept unforgivably low standards for
kindergarten readiness
  • Ability to decode in a second language does not
    foundation of language needed to comprehend more
    difficult texts in that second language
  • Ability to express basic needs and carry on a
    simple conversation is not a sufficient base for
    academic competency - language proficiency takes
  • Children need a sustained, consistent language
    development approach - focus on academic
    vocabulary, rich rich language in L1

Beyond readiness, beyond transition. build
connections between Preschools and K-3
  • Collaboration time, facilitated dialogues, visits
  • Shared professional development
  • Similar, articulated assessments and strategies
  • Attend to disjunctures in district planning and
  • Longitudinal data

State and local policy needs to be flexible
  • No one program model fits all populations,
    contexts, capacities (multiple languages,
    homogeneous, English plus one other language,
  • Linguistically isolated, heavily impacted
    Hispanic/ Spanish-speaking communities can mount
    effective bilingual approaches

Thank you!
  • For more information, contact
  • Laurie Olsen, Director
  • Sobrato Early Academic Literacy
  • Lolsen_at_sobrato.org
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