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Saturday, 22 October 2016

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Early Literacy Development for Spanish Speakers Print E-mail

Target Audience
Regular and bilingual classroom teachers, grades PK-3

Student and Teacher Needs Addressed
Young limited-English-proficient (LEP) students often enter school speaking only their native language and almost all need to learn how to read. They have to master the alphabetic principle, preferably in their first language (Snow, Burns and Griffin, 1998), while they are developing basic oral English proficiency. Their teachers need information on how to teach beginning reading in the native language (usually Spanish) in developmentally appropriate ways and information on how to transition them from reading in the first language to reading in English.

Recommended Approach
A bilingual program in which students are given a firm foundation both in terms of oral and written language development in their first language is preferred. Transition to reading in English, at least in the sense of no longer providing native language reading instruction and in the sense of immersing students in formal English reading programs, should be delayed until students demonstrate that they have mastered native language reading and acquired at least intermediate English proficiency levels.

Teacher Competencies
The participants in this professional development will:

  • Know, understand and apply theories of first and second language development
  • Review, analyze and interpret scientifically-based research on beginning reading and on second language learners
  • Develop classroom management skills that foster self-discipline and improve self-concept
  • Identify and use authentic, high quality multicultural children's literature in English and Spanish
  • Interpret and use results from the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) and other early literacy assessments to plan instruction and tailor it to individual needs
  • Provide phonemic awareness and phonics instruction to students learning to read in Spanish
  • Use reading activities that build fluency
  • Use a variety of vocabulary development approaches that accelerate vocabulary acquisition
  • Provide students with direct, explicit instruction in effective reading comprehension strategies
  • Transition students to English reading and writing through targeted activities based on a contrastive analysis of both languages
  • Explore technology tools that maximize language development
  • Increase parent participation in home literacy activities


  • 18 hours of workshop training annually (may include video conferences)
  • Monthly demonstration lessons in participant teachers' classrooms
  • Pre- and post-observations in all teachers classrooms (optional)
  • Quarterly meeting with principal and other campus leaders
  • Project web page with lesson plan database and links to web resources (optional)
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