Reading and Second Language Learners




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Reading and Second Language Learners


Research Report

May 1999


This report prepared by Magda Costantino, Ph.D.

The Evergreen Center for Education Improvement

The Evergreen State College

Olympia, Washington 98505


With assistance from:

Joe St. Charles

Susan Tepper

Edlamae Baird


Acknowledgment to Gary Burris and Lynne Adair

For their invaluable assistance with the project


This material is available in alternative format by request. Contact Bilingual Education at 360-753-2573,

TDD 360-664-3631. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction complies with all

federal and state rules and regulations and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color,

national origin, sex, disability, age or marital status.


Table of Contents


(click on page number for access)

Table of Contents i

Introduction 1

Executive Summary 3

Chapter One 7

Language Acquisition and the Language Learner 7

Section One: How Does First Language Develop? 7

Section Two: How Does Second Language Develop? 9

Foundational Theories 9

Creative Construction 9

Error Analysis 10

Interlanguage 11

Linguistic Transfer 12

Implications for Educators 13

Theoretical Models of L2 Acquisition 14

Krashen’s Model 14

Cummins’ Model 15

The Prism Model: Language Acquisition Model for School 16

Social, Linguistic, and Cognitive Processes Model 20

Section Three: Learner Characteristics 20

That Influence Second-Language Acquisition 20

Age 20

Degree of First-Language Development 22

Age of Arrival 22

The Role of Formal Schooling in the First Language 24

Attitude and Motivation 25

Identity and Second-Language Learning 26

Affective Filter Hypothesis 27

Intelligence 28

Second-Language Aptitude 29

Personality 30

Learning Styles 30

Conclusion 32

Chapter Two 33

English-Language Learners and Learning to Read 33

Section One: Challenges English-Language 33

Learners Face in Learning to Read in English 33

Language Proficiency 33

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness 35

Vocabulary 37

Background Knowledge 37

Cultural and Sociopolitical Risk Factors and Challenges 38

Section Two: Learning to Read in English 39

Reading Readiness in English 40

First-Language Reading Instruction 41

First-Language Instructional Support 47

Conclusion 48

Chapter Three 50

School, Program and Classroom Characteristics That Support the Academic Achievement of English-Language Learners 50

Section One: Relative Effectiveness of Program Models 50

National Evaluations 52

Reviews of Smaller-Scale Evaluations 53

Thomas and Collier (1997) 56

Section Two: Characteristics of Effective Schools and Classrooms 59

Study Methodologies 60

Positive Classroom and School-Wide Climates 62

Effective Grouping Strategies 63

Customized Learning Environment 64

Use of Native Languages 65

Instructional Strategies that Enhance Understanding 65

Cognitively Complex, On-Grade-Level Instruction 66

Balanced Curriculum 67

Opportunities for Practice 68

Collaboration Between Home and School 68

Effective Staff Development 69

Conclusion 70

Appendix A 71

Program Models for the Education of 71

English-Language Learners in Washington State 71

Appendix B 74

Model of Program Development in 74

Relation to Language of Instruction 74

The Ideal Case 74

The Gradual Exit Plan's Grounding in Theory and Research 76

Modifications Consistent with Local Contexts 76

Appendix C 78

Reading-Related Programs That Influence the 78

Reading Achievement of English-Language Learners 78

Reading Recovery 78

Success for All 80

Glossary 83

References 89


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