From the category archives:

Use this! Activities & Resources

STEM and Language Learning: It’s E-L-ementary!

by Jennifer Kobrin September 2, 2010
STEM and Language Learning:  It’s E-L-L-ementary!

What do Albert Einstein, I.M Pei, and Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google) all have in common? Not only has each of these leaders made invaluable contributions to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math)—and to greater society—they also learned English as a second language.

Read more…

IES Focuses on Reading Comprehension

by Foundations Inc. June 18, 2010

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) announced plans yesterday to award $100 million in grant funding to a new Reading for Understanding Research Initiative. Over the next five years, IES will support six teams as they take on the thorny issue of reading comprehension for students in all grades. Comprehension is a critical issue for students in areas like Math, Science, and Social Studies, where engaging with complex ideas in written text is key to academic success. From third grade on, students should be able to use reading as a tool for learning in all subjects.

Read more…

Tongue Tied: English Only in America

by Jennifer Kobrin June 9, 2010
Global Learning

You may have heard that a person who speaks three languages is trilingual, a person who speaks two languages is bilingual, and a person who speaks one language is American. In a recent address to the Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan confronted this mindset.

Read more…

Long Term English Learners Get Attention in California

by Jennifer Kobrin May 27, 2010

Earlier today, the statewide coalition California Together released a study focusing on long term English learners—a concept that differs across states and districts, but generally refers to ELs who enter school as young children and fail to gain reclassification after a number of years. According to the study, this includes up to 59% of EL students in California.

Read more…

Reading: More than an Academic Issue

by Foundations Inc. May 25, 2010
Rhonda Lauer reads with a student

In an article that was published in Education Week online’s Opinion section on May 21st, Foundations’ CEO Rhonda H. Lauer discusses the importance of early literacy and the host of obstacles—many of them non-academic—that young people living in poverty must overcome to read on grade level by the time they reach 3rd grade.

Read more…

Gaining a Voice After School

by Jennifer Kobrin May 25, 2010
Gaining a Voice After School

Many English learners (ELs) lack adequate time to use and practice English—especially the academic variety needed to master content areas like Math and Science—during school hours. One study reports that ELs may have less than 90 seconds of classroom talk time each day. Yet we know that oral practice is a critical part of learning a second language. As Foundations’ Senior Advisor Claudia Weisburd notes, “Research on language acquisition confirms what all language learners know from experience: practice is key…Oral skills, in turn, underlie literacy.”

Read more…

Casey Foundation Reports on Grade Level Reading

by Jennifer Kobrin May 20, 2010
Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters

A report released yesterday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that reading is as much an issue of socioeconomics as it is an academic one. When it comes to 4th graders on the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading test, 67% of all students scored below basic, as compared to 83% of low-income students. The data are even more alarming when we consider the low benchmarks used by many states to score proficient on the test.

Read more…

Listening to Teachers of EL Students

by Jennifer Kobrin April 28, 2010
Listening to Teachers of EL Students

Through surveys and discussions with over 5,000 teachers, the authors gathered educators’ insights, challenges, and recommendations related to working with English Learners. The teachers generally reported positive attitudes, and showed ingenuity, hard work, and persistence when working with ELs; however, most recognized constraints that prevented them from providing the type and level of supports desired.

Read more…

After School Programs in the Central Valley Benefit Children and Youth

by Jennifer Kobrin April 28, 2010
After School Programs in the Central Valley Benefit Children and Youth

Using data collected from more than 80 Central Valley afterschool programs, Newhouse highlights afterschool programs’ positive affects on attendance, language learning, and academic performance. The report also finds that students who attended more consistently showed even greater linguistic and academic gains than those students who attended intermittently.

Read more…

Maximizing Afterschool Opportunities for English Learners

by Jennifer Kobrin April 17, 2010
Maximizing Afterschool Opportunities for English Learners

Zarate’s report from Alliance for a Better Community examines what role afterschool programs could play in supporting English Learners. The report begins by focusing on the English Learner achievement gap and issues such as limited school resources and instructional time that may hinder English Learners’ academic development, and includes four recommendations to facilitate high quality educational experiences for English Learners in afterschool.

Read more…