Research by Topic
English Language Learners
Below are selected research studies that investigate issues important to English language learners. The resources are listed alphabetically by author and include links to the item or to where it can be purchased.
Multicultural Perspectives on Literacy Research
Au, K. (1995). Multicultural perspectives on literacy research. Journal of Reading Behavior, 27, 85-100.
Describes the broad territory covered by researchers whose work reflects various multicultural perspectives on literacy. Discusses four areas of literacy research that reflect these perspectives: critical analyses, cultural difference analyses, bilingual analyses, and literary analyses. Also discusses the foremost proponents of each perspective.
August, D., & Hakuta, K. (1997). Program evaluation. In D. August & K. Hakuta (Eds.), Improving Schooling for Language-Minority Children: A Research Agenda (pp. 139-162). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
From the introduction:
During the 1970s and 1980s, the federal government and advocates were keenly interested in determining which model was more effective. Program evaluations were intended to provide a definitive answer to this question. This chapter examines what we know from program evaluations conducted to date and identifies research needs in this area.
The Relation Between First- and Second-Language Skills: Evidence from Puerto Rican Elementary School Children in Bilingual Programs
Lanauze, M., & Snow, C.E. (1989). The relation between first- and second-language skills: Evidence from Puerto Rican elementary school children in bilingual programs. Linguistics and Education, 1, 323-340.
Writing skills of 38 fourth and fifth graders in a Spanish-English bilingual program were assessed using a picture description task administered in both Spanish and English. The children had been rated by their teachers as ‘good’ or ‘poor’ on the basis of oral, aural, and reading skills in both Spanish and English, producing three groups: children rated good in both languages (GG), children rated poor in both languages (PP), and children rated poor in English but good in Spanish (PG). Measures of complexity, sophistication, and semantic content of the children's writing showed significant group differences, with the GG and the PG groups scoring better than the PP group in Spanish, as would be expected, but also in English. The fact that the PG group wrote longer, syntactically more complex, and semantically more complete essays than the PP group in English as well as in Spanish suggests they were transferring academic and literacy skills from L1 to L2 before their L2 oral-aural skills had developed very far. The poor performance of the PP group in English could be a reflection of their lack of academic and literacy skills in their first language.
Dual Language Learners in the Early Years: Getting Ready to Succeed in School
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) (2008). Dual Language Learners in the Early Years: Getting Ready to Succeed in School. Washington, D.C.: NCELA.
This report reviews the literature on getting dual language learners ready for school. Dual language learners are children from 3-6 years old who are learning a second language while still acquiring their first. The report looks at ways in which families, communities, services and schools can work together to get children ready to succeed in the early years of education.
Reading and Language Outcomes of a Five-Year Randomized Evaluation of Transitional Bilingual Education
Slavin, R.E., Madden, N., Calderon, M., Chamberlain, A., & Hennessy, M. (2010). Reading and language outcomes of a five-year randomized evaluation of transitional bilingual education. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University.
Recently published results from a 5-year randomized study indicate that Spanish-speaking children learn to read English equally well regardless of whether they are taught primarily in English or in both English and their native language. The first of its kind, the study compares English and Spanish language / reading performance of Spanish-dominant children who, from kindergarten, were randomly assigned to Transitional Bilingual Education or Sheltered English Immersion. A summary of the report is available through the What Works Clearinghouse website.