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A case study of English language learners and effective reading elements

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Nicole Smith
Abstract:
This case study examined the general question: "What are the best practices for teaching. English language learners how to read?" Furthermore, this study sought to discover specifically: How do students using Houghton Mifflin Reading Program with supplementals and Rigby Reading Program with supplementals compare in terms of academic gains?; What do the Houghton Mifflin, Rigby and Supplemental Reading Programs include for ELLs?; What do the literacy coach, ELL specialist and administrators view as the most effective reading program for ELLs?; What are the differences/similarities of these professionals' perceptions regarding the two reading programs with reading supplements as well as the essential reading components? Using a case study design, the researcher analyzed data derived from semi-structured interviews of 10 education professionals; English language development specialists; literacy coaches and administrators; Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills, and English Language Proficiency Assessment scores from a sample of 3 rd , 4th and 5th grade English language learners from two elementary schools in the Reynolds School District. Furthermore, two core reading programs; Houghton Mifflin and Rigby were analyzed for commonalities and differences. It was discovered that the necessary reading elements for ELLs include a balanced literacy program. Further, ELLs must obtain early intermediate level-2 English proficiency to succeed on these assessments. It was revealed that Houghton Mifflin has more supports for ELLs. However, none of the participants suggested a reading program for ELLs.

TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................................................ ii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................................. iii

TABLE OF CONTENTS .................................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................................... vi CHAPTER 1 ........................................................................................................................................... 1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 1 Statement of the Problem ............................................................................................................ 3 Research Questions ....................................................................................................................... 5 Key Terms ...................................................................................................................................... 6 Limitations and Delimitations ..................................................................................................... 9

CHAPTER 2 ....................................................................................................................................... 12

Review of the Literature .................................................................................................................... 12 ELLs and Access to the Academic Content Area of Reading ........................................... 12 Teaching Reading Comprehension to ELLs ......................................................................... 15 Teaching Reading Fluency to ELLs ........................................................................................ 28 Teaching Vocabulary to ELLs ................................................................................................. 37 Conclusions from the Literature Review ............................................................................... 46 CHAPTER 3 ........................................................................................................................................ 47 Methods ................................................................................................................................................ 47 Setting ........................................................................................................................................... 48 Participants .................................................................................................................................. 53 Research design, data collection and analysis protocols ...................................................... 54 Human subjects safeguarding .................................................................................................. 58 Role of the Researcher .............................................................................................................. 59 Contributions of the Research ................................................................................................. 60 CHAPTER 4 ........................................................................................................................................ 61 Findings ................................................................................................................................................ 61 Semistructured Interview Data ................................................................................................ 61 Self-Description of Professional Role .................................................................................... 63 Involvement with ELLs and English Language Development ......................................... 67

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Education and Experience in Literacy .................................................................................... 69 Research Question #1 ............................................................................................................... 72 Additional Perceptions Identied by the Educational Professionals .................................. 79 Perceived Effectiveness of Core Reading Program ............................................................. 79 Perceived Benefits of Core Reading Programs ..................................................................... 84 Perceived Strengths and Weaknesses of Reading Programs for ELL Students ............. 88 Research Question #2 ............................................................................................................... 96 Research Question #3 ............................................................................................................... 97 Hart Elementary Assessment Scores ...................................................................................... 97 Boyd Elementary Assessment Scores ................................................................................... 102 Conclusions on Research Question #3 ................................................................................ 106 Research Question #4 ............................................................................................................. 107 Conclusion on Research Question #4 ................................................................................. 109 CHAPTER 5 ...................................................................................................................................... 110 Discussion .......................................................................................................................................... 110 Implications of the Research Questions .............................................................................. 110 Implications of Research Question #1 ................................................................................ 111 Implications of Research Question #2 ................................................................................ 113 Additional Findings and Implications from the Qualitative Data ................................... 114 Implications of Research Question #3 ................................................................................ 117 Implications of Research Question #4 ................................................................................ 119 Implications for Professional Educators .............................................................................. 120 Implications for Scholarship .................................................................................................. 122 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 123 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................................. 125 APPENDICES .................................................................................................................................. 129 Appendix A. Reading Components Matrix.................................................................................. 130 Appendix B. Interview Guide Questions ..................................................................................... 131 Appendix C. Consent Form............................................................................................................ 132

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Percentages of Native Languages Spoken at Hartley Elementary ................................... 49

Table 2. Adequate Yearly Progress Percentages for Hartley Elementary in 2006-07 .................. 50

Table 3. Adequate Yearly Progress Percentages for Davis Elementary in 2006-07 ..................... 50

Table 4. Percentages of Native Languages Spoken at Davis Elementary ...................................... 51

Table 5. ELL Percentages by Classroom for Hartley and Davis ..................................................... 53

Table 6. Hartley 3 rd Grade Assessment Scores ................................................................................... 98

Table 7. Hartley 4 th Grade Assessment Scores ................................................................................. 100

Table 8. Hartley 5 th Grade Assessment Scores ................................................................................. 101

Table 9. Davis 3 rd Grade Assessment Scores .................................................................................... 103

Table 10. Davis 4 th Grade Assessment Scores .................................................................................. 104

Table 11. Davis 5 th Grade Assessment Scores .................................................................................. 106

Table 12. Reading Components ........................................................................................................... 108

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CHAPTER 1 Introduction An English language learner (ELL) is an individual whose first language is not English, but is in the process of acquiring English (Almaguer, 2005). The ELL population in various parts of the United States has grown tremendously; therefore, impacting schools. Researchers Slavin and Cheung (2004) agree with Francis, Kieffer, Lesaux, Rivera and Rivera (2006), whom state that ELLs are the fastest-growing group among the school-aged population in the United States. Furthermore, Francis et al. (2006) state:

Estimates place the ELL population at over 9.9 million students, with roughly 5.5 million students classified as Limited English Proficient by virtue of their participation in Title III assessments of English Language Proficiency. In the last two decades, the population of ELLs has grown 169 percent-whereas the general school population has grown only 12 percent- and collectively speaks over 400 different languages, with Spanish being the most common. (p. 3)

Lovett, Palma, Frijters, Steinbach, Temple, et al., (2008) have identified the ELL student population as having the highest drop-out rates, the highest rates of poverty and the lowest achievement scores. Thus, this is an important population for educators to consider, as

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they will most likely be instructing ELLs at some point in their teaching career. With the rise in ELL population teachers, administrators and researchers are seeking best practices for teaching ELL students. This is especially so in the Reynolds School District (RSD). The RSD presently has 10,700 students, of which 3,000 are ELL. The students come from diverse backgrounds with more than 45 different native languages spoken, Spanish being the most common. Three important groups of professionals are consistently seeking best reading practices for ELL students and are involved in the content areas of English language development (ELD) and reading. These two integral teaching professionals are the English language development specialists and the literacy coaches. Administrators are also important as they support these teaching professionals. The ELD specialist delivers ELD instruction to ELLs school wide and is considered the case manager for the ELLs. Thus, he/she reports ELD assessment scores and delivery of service for ELD. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) mandates that all ELLs receive ELD instruction. Moreover, they recommend 30 minutes a day or approximately 150 minutes a week. To help guide ELD instruction, ODE created English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards. The ELP standards were established and implemented in 2004. The literacy coach is a literacy leader for teachers school wide. He/She models, teaches, researches, assesses and presents effective reading instruction for all learners. Oregon Department of Education created reading standards before ELP standards were created. Reading standards have been in existence for many years. The literacy coach is well versed in ODE’s reading standards. The literacy coach implements the reading standards regularly in his/her role as the literacy leader in each individual building. All schools in the Reynolds School District have one literacy coach and have one or more ELD specialist.

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Many ELD specialists and literacy coaches have been included with administrators on curriculum adoption committees to give expert advice. Currently there are many reading programs and of these some pertain to ELLs or have an ELL component. Many educators adopting reading programs in their districts encounter ambiguity in identifying the essential reading components best suited for ELLs’ success. With the number of ELL students in the school community, educators must find the most appropriate reading instruction. Many of the current reading programs declare to be research-based. Reynolds School District has adopted several reading programs in the 12 elementary schools with the assistance of ELD specialists and literacy coaches. Currently, RSD’s main reading programs consist of either Houghton Mifflin or Rigby. Supplemental/intervention programs include Reading Mastery Classic; Language for Learning; Language for Thinking; Reading Mastery Plus; Read Naturally; Horizons and Horizons Fasttrack A/B (grades 1 and 2) C/D (grades 3 and 4); Houghton Mifflin Reading Enhancement Training; Phonics for Reading Levels 1, 2, and 3; Waterford Early Reading Program and Corrective Reading Decoding. As noted by the district, supplementary reading programs generally target only one or a few skills, or modify the comprehensive reading program. They are intended for students who are approximately one year below grade level. They do not provide sufficient instruction to replace any core reading program.

Statement of the Problem In the Reynolds School District, it is the researcher’s experience that one global question seems to be asked repeatedly by ELD specialists, literacy coaches, administrators, and teachers regarding effective reading instruction for ELLs. Namely, what are best teaching

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practices for teaching ELLs to read? This global question begs several other questions. Do ELL students need to achieve a certain English proficiency level before they can begin to learn to read in English? Research by Collier (1987) and Cummins (1981a) states that students acquire Basic Interpersonal Conversation Skills (BICS) in 2-3 years and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) in 5-7 (and sometimes up to 10 years depending on native language literacy). For example, researchers Avalos, Plasencia, Chavez, and Rascon (2007) reveal that BICS and CALP can be acquired through the instruction of guided reading. They believe that CALP will develop quickly if instruction pertains to language as well. These researchers suggest that teachers use texts as instructional vehicles to focus on both literacy and language needs. Thus, questions arise regarding second language acquisition research. Do students need to be in the CALP stage in order to learn how to read in a second language? Should educators teach ELLs how to read in the same manner as native English speakers? Do schools need to teach a balanced reading program, which includes phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency? Do ELL students benefit from intensive reading programs? As these questions arise during team discussions there are a variety of opinions, educational philosophies and some research expressed. The current research pertaining to best teaching practices for ELL students varies in curriculum, delivery of instruction and teaching practices. Avalos et al. (2007) explain:

Some researchers have determined that ELLs are not generally ready for English reading instruction until they are at the intermediate stage of English- language acquisition (Knox & Amador-Watson, 2002), while others advocate

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that reading and a second language are best acquired simultaneously (Anderson & Roit, 1998). Collier and Thomas (1999) found that ELLs who receive support in their native language can take 4 to 7 years to achieve 50 th normal curve equivalents in English reading and 7-10 years if support in the first language (L1) is not provided. (p. 319)

The purpose of this study is to compare two different reading programs as well as supplemental reading programs for English language learners. Specifically, using a case study approach this research will document the essential reading components for English language learner success. The objective of the investigation is to gain greater understanding on the specific elements of these reading programs for English language learners in order to serve those students more effectively.

Research Questions The researcher will attempt to answer the following exploratory, research questions in regards to the problem statement: Research Question #1. What are the differences/similarities of the literacy coaches’, ELD specialists’ and administrators’ perceptions regarding the two reading programs, Houghton Mifflin with supplementals and Rigby with supplements as well as the essential reading components? Research Question #2. What do these educational professionals view as the most effective reading program for ELLs?

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Research Question #3. How do students using Houghton Mifflin, Rigby and/or Supplemental Reading Programs compare in terms of academic gains? Research Question #4. What do the Houghton Mifflin, Rigby and Supplemental Reading Programs include for ELLs?

Key Terms Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) is a language-related term which refers to formal academic learning. Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills. https://dibels.uoregon.edu/dibelsinfo.php

English Language Development (ELD) Instruction is teaching English language skills and the infusion of language support into the grade level content instruction. It is explicit English language instruction focusing on the functions and forms of English. During ELD instruction students are taught based on their level of proficiency. The objective is to teach students vocabulary and sentence structures to be able to express thinking for a range of purposes.http://www.rcoe.k12.ca.us/newsroom/archive/ELL/Dutro_RCOE%20to%20post. pdf

English Language Development (ELD) Specialist is a professional that specializes in teaching English Language Development to English Language Learners. An ELD Specialist

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manages the ELLs case files. The ELD Specialist must obtain his/her (18-credit + practicum) ESOL endorsement after acquiring a bachelor’s degree in education. English Language Learner (ELL) refers to the use or study of English by speakers with a different native language. Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and quickly with appropriate phrasing, prosody and inflection. IPT is a comprehensive IDEA proficiency test which assesses a wide range of language proficiency for students from Pre-K to grade 12. This language proficiency test allows educators to assess students’ proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. www.ballard-tighe.com/products/la/index.asp

Literacy Coach is a professional that focuses on increasing student achievement in the areas of reading and writing. This is done by working collaboratively with the whole staff, grade level teams and individual teachers to increase knowledge of topic, broaden instructional strategies and foster self reflection that will lead to ongoing improvement and instruction. The literacy coach must acquire a Basic Teaching License with a Reading Endorsement. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act is a federal act instituted in January 2002. It requires teachers teaching ELLs to be certified and qualified to teach ELLs by 2005. All ELLs must be assessed annually on language proficiency and on standardized tests. www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html

Reading Comprehension is defined as the level of understanding of text. Normal reading rates are at an acceptable level of comprehension above 75%. Reclassified (Exited) is when a former ELL student is no longer considered an English language learner. Thus, showing success in English and is at a level five/advanced

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according to English language acquisition based on assessments. The student is exited from the English language development program. However, the student is monitored by the ESOL specialist up to two years. The student is monitored by taking the ELPA assessment as well as showing success in the mainstream classroom. Tier I is compromised of a core reading program, progress monitoring, and ongoing professional development. Tier II is supplemental, or secondary, programs to address the reading skills of students who are not making adequate progress in their core reading instruction. It provides additional small group instruction and tutoring. Tier III is designed for students with low reading skills and sustained lack of adequate progress when provided with primary and secondary intervention. It provides explicit instruction through tutoring, smaller group size and increase in duration of daily instruction. www.texasreading.org/3tier/levels.asp

Title I is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It is a mandated act that funds primary and secondary education. The funds are authorized for professional development, instructional materials, resources to support educational programs, and parental involvement promotion. Title III is Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students. This title disperses federal funds to school districts to ensure that children who are LEP attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meets the same challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet. www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html

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Woodcock Reading Mastery Test is a norm-referenced battery of tests which provides various measures of reading achievement. It is an individually administered diagnostic reading test. The Word Identification subtest measures an individual's ability to recognize words at sight. The Word Attack subtest measures the ability to use phonic and structural analysis skills to identify nonsense words. The Word Comprehension subtest measures knowledge of word meanings through formats utilizing antonyms, synonyms, and analogies. The Passage Comprehension subtest is a modified cloze procedure and measures the student's ability to read and understand a short passage and then supply a key word missing from the passage. The Basic Skills Cluster combines performance on the Word Identification and the Word Attack subtests to provide a measure of some word recognition skills. The Reading Comprehension Cluster combines the Word Comprehension and the Passage Comprehension subtests to provide a measure of understanding of text read. The Total Reading Cluster is a combination of all the subtests administered and provides one measure of reading achievement. http://web001.greece.k12.ny.us/academics.cfm?subpage=1643

Limitations and Delimitations As exploratory research, this research used a purposive sample. While this sampling technique does not allow the researcher to generalize findings to a larger population, it offers the advantage of enabling the investigator to gain a fuller understanding on the similarities and differences in the two reading programs with supplemental programs. Moreover, this research relied heavily on in-depth interviews as part of the triangulation of data. This research design is especially useful in exploring personal perceptions of individuals. As such, this research

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reported the views offered by the professionals included in the sample. These perceptions are subjective and therefore, represent the personal disposition of the participants and may not reflect objective fact or reality. The research is delimited by the fact that only two reading programs and supplemental programs out of several are being compared and contrasted. If the researcher were to use multiple reading programs, she may find that those better meet the needs of ELLs. However, this limitation is necessary due to the fact that the researcher must use what is available in the Reynolds School District. The issue of fidelity in implementing these two programs is also delimited. That is, the researcher cannot guarantee all programs were taught with the same fidelity. As people are diverse, teachers include their own teaching styles when utilizing a curriculum or program. Teachers using these programs may implement their own teaching strategies; therefore, causing a variety of different reading strategies to be used in the various classrooms. The concept of consistency in teaching these two reading programs is not guaranteed by the researcher in all of the classrooms with all students in this study. Also, only a few professionals in one school district were used in this study. Because both groups of participants are from the same district, they share a similar professional culture and reasonably face similar educational and administrative issues. If professionals from other school districts were to be used in the research, it is likely a wider range of perceptions, concerns, and issues would emerge. Another delimiter was students’ test scores. Many variables are involved in collecting and analyzing student assessment data. That is, a student’s test score is one assessment. It does not show the entire student and his/her capabilities or academic success. A test score is a

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window in time; therefore, there are many variables that may arise during that particular assessment. Variables such as a limited time to take the test, the student may be hungry, tired, feeling sick or could guess answers. Researchers as well as educators are confident that decisions can be made in looking at assessment data, however, they must use caution in making decisions regarding data and instruction. Educators are encouraged to look at the whole child, not just at one piece of assessment data, but a variety to make instructional decisions. Furthermore, Rigby has been used as the core reading program at Hart Elementary for nine years. Boyd’s core reading program; Houghton Mifflin has only been implemented for two years. The implementation of Houghton Mifflin for two years may delimit ELLs’ reading assessment scores at Boyd.

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CHAPTER 2 Review of the Literature This chapter describes the literature pertaining to English language learners (ELLs) and effective reading elements. The following topics are discussed: access to academic content, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary.

ELLs and Access to the Academic Content Area of Reading In the 1974 court case Lau v. Nichols, which involved the educational rights of approximately 1,800 Chinese American students, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to guarantee children an opportunity to a meaningful education regardless of language background. No longer would limited English-proficient (LEP) students be left to sink or swim in the classrooms. Since this ruling, schools have been required to assume responsibility for overcoming language barriers. The Lau v. Nichols’ decision helped to proactively take affirmative steps towards bilingual instruction, English as a second language (ESL) classes, and sheltered instruction. The mandate is clear. Language-minority students must be ensured access to the same curriculum provided to their English-speaking peers. Francis and associates (2006) describe proficiency and control of academic language to be the most important influence on content area learning. One of these important content areas is reading for ELLs. These researchers address appropriate planning, effective

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instructional approaches, specialized programs and interventions all relating to reading instruction with ELLs. Francis et al. (2006) indicate that both native English speakers and ELLs require instruction that promote reading development in the five core areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. These researchers attest that phonemic awareness and phonics are critical during the earliest stages of reading development. However, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension are critical during all stages of reading development. These last three reading areas are especially important during skilled reading and when students are expected to read to learn. In concurrence, the National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth (2006) has also found that these three reading skills are pertinent to ELLs’ academic success. However, they also found that reading instruction pertaining to ELLs is an instructional challenge for educators (Francis et al. 2006). It is crucial that ELLs obtain fluency, vocabulary and comprehension instruction. Researchers Neufeld, Amendum, Fitzgerald and Guthrie (2006) investigated an elementary school in a rural region of the Southeastern United States. The population consisted of 18% Latino, 37% African-American and 43% Caucasian of which 61% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. The participants were from two 1st-grade classrooms that had been in attendance at the school for seven consecutive months. There were 47 students present in this study. Out of these 47 students, 72% in the sample received free or reduced lunch. Twenty-eight of the participants were Latino ELLs. Nineteen were monolingual native English speakers. A total of 68% of the Latino students had been born in the U.S. A total of 29% had lived in the U.S. at least two years. Only 3% had lived in the U.S. less than one year. The Latino students were assessed on their oral-English skills. The assessment tool was

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the IPT oral, which assessed their oral English fluency. The Latino participants’ mean score was 2.79. Based on the IPT assessment this mean score shows that the Latino participants’ are considered Limited-English speakers. The teachers of the participants described their instructional reading practices as a balanced literacy program. The teachers reported that the literacy activities entailed phonological awareness, letter-sound relationships, comprehension, fluency and word identification strategies. Both teachers incorporated these activities in small-group and whole- class instruction. Two points within the year; mid-year and end-of-year, three reading measures were administered to all participants. The reading measures consisted of Oral Reading of Successively Difficult Passages, Basic Sight Vocabulary test, and Hearing Sounds in Words. Neufeld and associates (2006) have found in general that low- and high- performing kindergarten, 1 st and 2 nd grade ELLs develop in ways that are similar to their native English speaking peers. Neufeld et al. (2006) express two major findings from their prior work:

First, global English-oral proficiency does not tend to correlate with young English-language learners’ global English-reading achievement. Second, global oral-English proficiency and oral-English vocabulary have been shown to be related to English-reading comprehension, and English- phonological processing has been shown to be related to English-word reading. (p. 27)

At the end of the study, the data were analyzed using a series of repeated measures analyses of variance. The results answered two main research questions. The first question:

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How does 1 st grade Latino English-language learners’ growth in English instructional reading level and selected word-level reading subprocesses compare to their monolingual native- English-speaking peers’ growth? The results indicate a main effect, F=23.42, p<.001. Both groups of students performed better at each point in time on average. Therefore, both groups made similar growth and ended 1 st grade at the end-of-1 st grade-reading ability. The second question: Does 1 st grade Latino ELLs’ English reading growth vary according to their oral English language abilities? The researchers found that English oral ability was correlated to the reading subprocess variables, p<.03. Thus, the students with higher English oral ability performed better on the word-level reading subprocesses than those with lower English oral ability. Therefore, researchers Neufeld et al. (2006) conclude that Latino ELLs and native English speaking students made similar instructional reading level growth from the middle to the end of the school year. Also, there was not a statistically significant difference between the two groups. These researchers suggest that the two groups of students were on similar overall achievement trajectories in reading.

Teaching Reading Comprehension to ELLs Comprehension of text is an important reading skill. Students need to be taught to comprehend reading material. Thus, teachers need to understand how to teach comprehension to students. There are numerous studies on reading research. However, there is little scholarly work on reading comprehension with English language learners (ELLs) although most work is fairly current. Researchers have been making progress and there is some research suggesting reading programs, strategies, curriculum materials and teacher instruction pertaining to ELLs. Researchers McKeown and Gentilucci (2007) describe reading as a covert process:

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Actively controlled by readers to create meaning from text, and the practice of readers ‘thinking about their thinking’ while engaged in the reading process known as metacognition. One promising approach for activating metacognition and thereby improving reading comprehension among second- language learners is known as the Think-Aloud Strategy. (p. 136)

McKeown and Gentilucci (2007) understand the purpose of think-aloud to support ELLs in developing the ability to monitor their comprehension. Group reading using think- alouds helps to motivate and allows for a small interpretive community to gain other viewpoints and negotiate understandings. Furthermore, these researchers cite Bereiter and Bird’s 1985 study involving 7 th and 8 th graders who were average readers. McKeown and Gentilluci’s study found that students with teachers using think-aloud strategies scored significantly higher on comprehension tests to students whose teachers did not use this approach. The instructional process included teacher modeling, direct instruction and individual practice. Moreover, researchers McKeown and Gentilucci (2007) suggest that specific strategies for ELLs should include “discerning important from nonimportant details, applying cognate vocabulary, making extensive versus reflexive responses to text, and focusing on the text as a whole (top-down processing)” (p. 139). These researchers examined the Think-Aloud Strategy with middle school English learners. However, McKeown alone implemented the strategy in the classroom. The study included a purposeful sample of 27 English learners who had a reading proficiency level of early intermediate, level two or higher. Five of the students

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included in the sample were early intermediate or level two in English language acquisition, 11 of the students in the sample were at the intermediate level or level three, and 11 early advanced or level four students. Within this student sample there were some participants who had been in the country for two or more years and some who were born in the U.S. but had not yet exited the ELL program. Students were given a pre- and post-assessment using the High Point Comprehension Assessment. The High Point Language, Literacy and Content series was used in the school’s instructional program. Moreover, this series is the only one adopted by California as both a systematic ELD program and reading intervention program. After the pre-assessment, one of the researchers, McKeown, employed the Think-Aloud Strategy through instruction with the students. The teacher modeling occurred over a two week period. The teacher modeling of the Think-Aloud Strategy lasted from 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week. McKeown used a novel and social science texts to teach the Think-Aloud Strategy. Her instruction included, “after every two or three lines of text, she stopped and restated what she thought was happening, asked herself a question, clarified, or made a prediction, thus modeling her own meaning- making strategies for the students” (p. 141). Students started applying the Think-Aloud Strategy in the third and fourth weeks of the study during their daily reading assignments. McKeown (2007) monitored students during their use of the Think-Aloud Strategy encouraging them to respond aloud to their imagination of the story. The findings indicated that participation in the Think-Aloud Strategy did not show significant differences on the pre- and posttest scores with the early intermediate, level two students. Also, the pre-and posttest means among intermediate students were not statistically significant. However, the data suggest measurable growth in reading comprehension. Seven of

Full document contains 139 pages
Abstract: This case study examined the general question: "What are the best practices for teaching. English language learners how to read?" Furthermore, this study sought to discover specifically: How do students using Houghton Mifflin Reading Program with supplementals and Rigby Reading Program with supplementals compare in terms of academic gains?; What do the Houghton Mifflin, Rigby and Supplemental Reading Programs include for ELLs?; What do the literacy coach, ELL specialist and administrators view as the most effective reading program for ELLs?; What are the differences/similarities of these professionals' perceptions regarding the two reading programs with reading supplements as well as the essential reading components? Using a case study design, the researcher analyzed data derived from semi-structured interviews of 10 education professionals; English language development specialists; literacy coaches and administrators; Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills, and English Language Proficiency Assessment scores from a sample of 3 rd , 4th and 5th grade English language learners from two elementary schools in the Reynolds School District. Furthermore, two core reading programs; Houghton Mifflin and Rigby were analyzed for commonalities and differences. It was discovered that the necessary reading elements for ELLs include a balanced literacy program. Further, ELLs must obtain early intermediate level-2 English proficiency to succeed on these assessments. It was revealed that Houghton Mifflin has more supports for ELLs. However, none of the participants suggested a reading program for ELLs.