The Literacy Gaps: Bridge-Building Strategies for English Language Learners and Standard English Learners

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Build bridges of support so English language learners and standard English learners can learn alongside their peers!

This comprehensive, research-based guide helps teachers bridge multiple gaps and promote learning for English language learners (ELLs) and standard English learners (SELs). The authors provide strategies, examples, and tools to address:

  • The gap between students and texts: covering word recognition, background knowledge, comprehension, and academic language development
  • The gap between students and teachers: including sociocultural differences between teachers and students and teacher perceptions and expectations
  • The gap between students and their peers: discussing language proficiency differences, grouping strategies, and grade-level and schoolwide programs

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Editorial Reviews

Guadalupe Valdes
"The book makes a contribution to the education of English language learners. It provides practical instructional suggestions for teachers of both ELLs and SELs that are informed by a deep understanding of theories of second language and second dialect acquisition and the development of reading and writing proficiencies."
Kristina Anstrom
"The concepts of gaps and bridges are clearly articulated up front and provide a well-structured theme that unites the various parts of the text. The use of this structure provides a logical and coherent mechanism for providing a complete picture of the problem—the literacy gap between ELs and native speakers—and a means for addressing this problem."
Ron Klemp
"The strategies are clearly presented and there is just enough research cited to provide the rationale for incorporating ideas into instruction. Any teacher will find this book practical, and the discussions will provide meaningful ideas for study groups at the school site."
Yee Wan
"This book presents content that is crucial for narrowing the achievement gap and powerful practical instructional strategies for increasing student achievement."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412975216
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 807,061
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Consulting Description: Academic Language
Consulting Description: ELL Shadowing
Consulting Description: English Language Learners

Ivannia Soto is Associate Professor of Education at Whittier College, where she specializes in second language acquisition, systemic reform for English language learners (ELLs), and urban education. She began her career in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), where she taught English and English Language Development to a population made of up 99.9% Latinos, who either were or had been ELLs. Before becoming a professor, Dr. Soto also served LAUSD as a literacy coach and district office administrator. She has presented on literacy and language topics at various conferences, including the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), the California Association for Bilingual Association (CABE), the New York State Associate for Bilingual Education (NYSABE), and the National Urban Education Conference. As a consultant, Soto has worked with Stanford University’s School Redesign Network (SRN) and WestEd, as well as a variety of districts and county offices in California, providing technical assistance for systemic reform for ELLs and Title III. She is the co-author of The Literacy Gaps: Building Bridges for ELLs and SELs, her first book with Corwin Press, and the author of a variety of articles on providing appropriate instructional access for ELLs.

June Hetzel, professor and dean of the School of Education at Biola University,grew up in the culturally and linguistically rich basin of the San Francisco Bay Area in the Franklin McKinley School District in south San Jose. Her childhood background shaped her passion for access for all learners. Her teaching experiences in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Africa, and Thailand have provided her withinsight into working with elementary andsecondary studentsand adults in multilingual, multicultural settings. Additionally, she has enjoyed travel throughout Europe and on a trip to Oxford University, presented “The Three Literacy Gaps and Title III of NCLB,” co-authored with Ivannia Soto-Hinman, at the Oxford Round Table at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, upon which the book The Literacy Gapsis based. In partnership with Ivannia Soto-Hinman, the model has been refined for ELLs and SELs, developing into its current form.

With 30 years in education, Hetzel remains passionate about literacy. She facilitates local volunteer tutoring partnerships and she and her husband, Geoff, enjoy leading teams of literacy teachers overseas to work with English language learners. A long-time member of the International Reading Association and the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, Hetzel has authored many literacy resource books and currently freelances for Purposeful Design Publications, serving as a content editor for two textbook series, including the English as a Foreign Language series. She earned her MS in reading education from Cal State Fullerton and her PhD from Claremont Graduate University.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
1. Introduction to the Achievement Gap and the “Literacy Gaps Model”
Demographic Patterns
Language Spoken and Socioeconomic Factors
ELL Achievement
Standard English Learners
The National Literacy Panel
The Literacy Gaps Model
Overview of Book Chapters
2. Decoding: Word Recognition Strategies and Fluency
The Gap Between the Student and the Text
Decoding and Readability of Text
English Language Development
Background Knowledge
3. Background Knowledge and Experiences
Schema Fit: Becoming a Text Participant
Context: Becoming a Text User (Active Participant)
Linkages: Becoming a Text Analyst (Reading Critically)
4. Comprehension
Comprehension Gap
Academic Language
Passage Comprehension
5. English Language Development and Academic English
Specialized Language Needs of ELLs
Needs of Standard English Learners
Academic Language Development Lesson Plan
6. Perceptions and Expectations
Were Called on Less Frequently and Were Provided Less Time to Respond
Were Given the Answer Rather Than Helped to Solve the Problem Themselves
Were Criticized More Often, and Praised Less
Were Paid Less Positive Attention, but Disciplined More Strictly
7. Cultural Differences
Connecting the Literacy Domains in Second Language Acquisition
Parental Involvement and the Literacy Domains
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Comprehensive Education
Multidimensional Approaches
Transformative Learning
Emancipatory Education
8. Socioeconomic Differences
Implicit and Explicit Codes
Discourse Patterns
Interactional Styles
Written Language Codes
Resource Access
9. Language Variables
Academic Language Competence
10. Grouping Strategies
Micro Structures That Bridge Language Proficiency Gaps
Macro Structures That Bridge Language Proficiency Gaps
11. Beyond the Gap/Envisioning the Future
The Literacy Gaps Model
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