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Jenny Williams uncovers the secret elements of expressive language using assessment Can a computerized assessment measure expressive language skills? This is an important question, since the ability to express ideas is one of the major indicators for College and Career readiness. Many times, I am asked this question in workshops. Participants inquire about expressive language skills because they associate expressive...

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Jennifer Helfand verses on the ‘musts’ of language learning Vocabulary and grammar. When I was a child, I thought that these were the only two things I needed in order to learn another language. I thought that if I just had enough words and knew how to put them together correctly, all the gifts that languages have to offer would...

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Erwin Tschirner explains the rationale behind an important new study to determine proficiency-level expectations for advanced learners in listening and reading Last year, the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) decided to embark on a major study to determine realistic proficiency-level expectations for listening and reading in college foreign language programs. While much is known about realistic...

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Maria Maldonado reminds us why language education is still so important in this age of automated communication The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language which is one of the authorities regulating and preserving the changes that occur in the Spanish language, in the 22nd edition of its dictionary (2001), defines language as “System of verbal and, almost always, written communication...

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has signed the Read by Three Act (SB 391) designed to improve early literacy and student achievement. The law includes early identification and parental notification of reading deficiencies, intensive reading interventions for students in need of additional support and, as a last resort, retention at the end of third grade with more intensive interventions. The law...

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Ivannia Soto reveals how shadowing learners enables educators to monitor their use of academic language Academic language has been broadly defined as the language of school, the language of textbooks, and the language of testing. More specifically, scholars such as Krashen and Brown (2007), define academic language development in two parts: (1) Academic language, characterized by complex syntax, academic vocabulary,...

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Ruben Alejandro, superintendent of an economically challenged district with 30% English language learners, shares his secrets for getting students—and their parents—reading. I was born and raised in Weslaco, a city of about 35,000 that sits in the Rio Grande Valley about eight miles north of the Texas/Mexico border. I have worked as an educator in Weslaco Independent School District since 1977...

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Nile Stanley and Brett Dillingham see the value in connecting learning literacy, language, and technology through storytelling What Is Digital Storytelling? Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching and probably the best way to learn. Recent research indicates our brains are actually “hard wired” to remember information in storytelling format (Willingham, 2004). Storytelling has received a wealth of support as an...

A new study from Oregon State University (OSU) shows that English learners are more likely to become proficient English speakers if they enter kindergarten with a strong initial grasp of academic language literacy, either in their primary language or in English. The study, published recently in the journal Educational Policy, is part of an emerging body of research examining the role that...

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Stephen Krashen with an inexpensive, simple approach to closing the equity gap in literacy “Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read’s evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.” (reachoutandread.org). Reach Out and Read (henceforth ROR) is a simple and inexpensive program. While...