Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students

Flexible Approaches in an Era of New Standards

Edited by C. Patrick Proctor, Alison Boardman, and Elfrieda H. Hiebert

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September 7, 2016
ISBN 9781462527199
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246 Pages
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ISBN 9781462527182
Price: $32.00
246 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
August 11, 2016
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246 Pages
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246 Pages

Recent educational reform initiatives such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) largely fail to address the needs—or tap into the unique resources—of students who are developing literacy skills in both English and a home language. This book discusses ways to meet the challenges that current standards pose for teaching emergent bilingual students in grades K-8. Leading experts describe effective, standards-aligned instructional approaches and programs expressly developed to promote bilingual learners' academic vocabulary, comprehension, speaking, writing, and content learning. Innovative policy recommendations and professional development approaches are also presented.

“An important, much-needed contribution to the field. The book covers an impressive breadth of topics and draws from various strands of research. It will be useful to scholars, to faculty engaged in the preparation of future teachers, and to practitioners. I recommend it highly for preservice teacher education programs.”

—Guadalupe Valdés, PhD, Bonnie Katz Tenenbaum Professor of Education, Stanford University

“This book is a response to the silence of the CCSS on emergent bilingual students. It is a loud statement of how policy, pedagogy, and professional learning cannot be 'common,' but must clearly differentiate among students. Readers are guided to adapt their pedagogical and assessment practices in order to provide emergent bilinguals with a truly equal educational opportunity.”

—Ofelia García, PhD, Urban Education PhD Program, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

“A 'must read' for those working with English language learners. This book offers key components to aid those supporting emergent bilingual students through a study of best practices from all over the United States.”

—Alexandra Montes McNeil, EdD, Principal Leader, Office of the Superintendent, Boston Public Schools

“As policy and standards continue to move forward, it is crucial to address the needs of emergent bilingual students. The editors have provided a clear and progressive view of many avenues for addressing these students' strengths and needs in the classroom. Accessible to future and current practitioners alike, this book should be required reading in all literacy education programs.”

—Julie L. Pennington, PhD, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno

Table of Contents

I. Policy

1. Language Education Policies in the Common Core Era: Policy Initiatives That Affect Emergent Bilingual Youth, Francesca López

2. Effective Instruction for Emergent Bilingual Children: Accelerating English Acquisition While Developing Biliteracy, Kathy Escamilla and Susan Hopewell

3. Response to Intervention for Emergent Bilingual Students in a Common Core Era: Guiding Principles for Distinguishing between Language Acquisition and Learning Disability, Amy M. Eppolito and Vanessa Santiago Schwarz

II. Pedagogy

4. English Learners and Instructional Texts: Evidence, Current Practice, and a Call to Action, Elfreida H. Hiebert

5. Supporting Linguistically Diverse Students to Develop Deep, Flexible Knowledge of Academic Words, Amy C. Crosson

6. Using Strategy Instruction to Promote Reading Comprehension and Content Learning, Alison Boardman and Cristin Jensen Lasser

7. Dialogic Reasoning: Supporting Emergent Bilingual Students’ Language and Literacy Development, Marcela Ossa Parra, Christopher J. Wagner, C. Patrick Proctor, Christine M. Leighton, Dana A. Robertson, Jeanne R. Paratore, and Evelyn Ford-Connors

8. Writing Arguments: The Experience of Two Mainstream Teachers Working with Multilingual Students, María Estela Brisk, Yalda M. Kaveh, Pat Scialoia, and Beverly Timothy

9. Energizing Reading: Engagement in Teaching and Learning, Ana TaboadaBarber and Peet Smith

10. Situating the English Language Arts Common Core Standards in Science: Enhancing Access to Language for Emergent Bilingual Students, Marco A. Bravo

III. Professional Learning

11. Academic Language and Literacy in Every Subject (ALLIES): A Capacity-Building Approach to Supporting Teachers in Grades 4–8, Susan P. O’Hara, Robert Pritchard, and Jeff Zwiers

12. Supporting Linguistically Responsive Teaching: e-Learning Communities for Academic Language Learning in Mathematics and Science (eCALLMS), Kara Mitchell Viesca, Boni Hamilton, Anne O. Davidson, and the eCALLMS Team


About the Editors

C. Patrick Proctor, EdD, is Associate Professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Previously he was a third- and fourth-grade bilingual teacher and worked in district, state, and nonprofit settings on issues pertaining to bilingualism and literacy. Dr. Proctor’s research is broadly focused on emergent bilingual learners from Spanish-speaking homes in K-8 settings. Within that context, his work targets language use and development, cross-linguistic relations, instructional interventions, and teacher practice. He has published many articles and book chapters, has developed language-based and reading curricula, and has worked in close collaboration with Boston-area schools facilitating the translation of research to practice.

Alison Boardman, PhD, is Assistant Research Professor in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. A former elementary and middle school special education teacher, Dr. Boardman works closely with teachers and school leaders to study and innovate reading instruction across content areas in classrooms that include emergent bilingual students and students with disabilities. She recently led a project to build school- and district-level capacity to sustain best practices for literacy instruction in language arts, social studies, and science classrooms, and is currently involved in developing project-based learning curriculum and multimodal composition opportunities for diverse learners in ninth-grade language arts classrooms. She has published numerous articles and books on reading comprehension.

Elfrieda H. Hiebert, PhD, is CEO and President of TextProject, Inc. She has worked in the field of early reading acquisition for more than 40 years as a classroom teacher, teacher educator, and researcher. Her research, which addresses how fluency, vocabulary, and knowledge can be fostered through appropriate texts, has been published in numerous scholarly journals and books. Dr. Hiebert’s contributions to research and practice have been recognized with such honors as the Research to Practice Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Oscar S. Causey Award from the Literacy Research Association.


Marco Bravo, PhD, is Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Education at Santa Clara University, in Santa Clara, California, where he teaches courses in language and literacy development. A former first-grade Spanish–English bilingual teacher, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Lawrence Hall of Science, where he contributed to the development of integrated science and literacy curricula through the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading research program. Dr. Bravo has also coauthored informational science books for children.

María Estela Brisk, PhD, is Professor of Education at Boston College. Her research and teaching interests include writing instruction, bilingual education, bilingual language and literacy acquisition, and preparation of mainstream teachers to work with bilingual learners. She is the author of numerous articles and six books: Bilingual Education: From Compensatory to Quality Schooling; Literacy and Bilingualism: A Handbook for ALL Teachers; Situational Context of Education: A Window into the World of Bilingual Learners; Language Development and Education: Children with Varying Language Experiences (with Paula Menyuk); Language, Culture, and Community in Teacher Education; and Engaging Students in Academic Literacies: Genre-Based Pedagogy for K–5 Classrooms.

Amy C. Crosson, EdD, is Assistant Professor in the College of Education at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park. She has led professional development about literacy development of language-minority students for teachers in urban school districts in the United States. In Chile, she supported the professional development of literacy specialists working in low-income municipalities surrounding Santiago. Dr. Crosson began her career as a bilingual (Spanish–English) education teacher in urban school districts in Massachusetts. In her first year of teaching, she received a Commitment to Quality Bilingual Education Award from the Bilingual Parents’ Association, Boston Public Schools.

Anne O. Davidson, MA, is a PhD candidate studying Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity at the University of Colorado Boulder. She works as an instructional coach supporting teachers in their efforts to create equity in their classrooms for all diverse learners. Her interest in educational advocacy grew during her years as a special education teacher, when she saw how extensively schools labeled and segregated students perceived as having a disability or learning difference. Ms. Davidson continues to follow the example of equity and respect with which she was raised by advocating for the students who are continually marginalized in schools, and for the use of best practices in supporting the learning needs of all students in inclusive classrooms.

Amy M. Eppolito, PhD, is an English language development specialist with Adams50 School District in Colorado, specializing in multi-tiered educational models for English learners (ELs) and culturally responsive teaching practices. She was the project coordinator for a U.S. Department of Education grant titled “RTI Effectiveness Model for ELs” and an instructional coach for Collaborative Strategic Reading–Colorado (CSR-CO). She has experience teaching Spanish, English as a second language (ESL), and literacy classes for K–8 students as well as undergraduate courses in the teacher education program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Eppolito has published articles and book chapters relating to emergent bilinguals with special needs, supporting emergent bilinguals in content classrooms, and collaborative decision making in response-to-intervention models.

Kathy Escamilla, PhD, is Professor in the Division of Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity at the University of Colorado Boulder. She has been in the field of bilingual/ESL education for over 45 years and has been a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a professor. Dr. Escamilla does research on Spanish language and literacy development and the assessment of Spanish-speaking Latino children in U.S. schools. She is particularly interested in issues related to the development of bilingualism and biliteracy in this population. She is currently working on Phase III of Literacy Squared®, a longitudinal biliteracy research study designed for Spanish-speaking children who are simultaneously bilingual. The study involves 5,000 children and 350 teachers in six states. Dr. Escamilla is the author of three books and over 50 peer-refereed research articles in the field.

Evelyn Ford-Connors, EdD, is a senior lecturer in the Literacy and Language Program at Boston University’s School of Education and Associate Director of the Donald D. Durrell Reading and Writing Clinic. Her primary research interests focus on the literacy learning needs of struggling readers and writers. She has created an after-school literacy intervention for high school students and recently completed a classroom-based study examining middle school teachers’ talk during vocabulary instruction. Dr. Ford-Connors’s current work investigates teacher coaching, with collaboration to refine teaching practices and strengthen teachers’ instructional talk.

Boni Hamilton, EdD, is a PhD candidate in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. Her area of concentration is Urban Ecologies and she has been a research assistant on the eCALLMS project since it began. Her dissertation focus will be the use of digital tools in elementary classrooms. Dr. Hamilton has published two books: It’s Elementary!: Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades and Integrating Technology in the Classroom: Digital Tools for Every Student. Her additional research interests include ethics in doctoral studies and the use of multicultural picture books in elementary mathematics classrooms.

Susan Hopewell, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Education in the Division of Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is interested in issues of language, culture, equity, and identity, especially as they impact—or are affected by—literacy practices. Dr. Hopewell utilizes mixed-methods designs to conduct research focused on strengthening biliteracy education for Spanish–English bilingual children in the United States. She is especially interested in questions about the strategic use of Spanish during literacy-based English language development.

Cristin Jensen Lasser, PhD, is Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Colorado Mountain College. She has worked as a graduate research assistant on the CSR-CO project, specializing in instructional coaching with science and social studies teachers in culturally and linguistically diverse middle school classrooms using Collaborative Strategic Reading in both English and Spanish. Dr. Jensen Lasser’s research interests include instructional practices for emergent bilinguals and professional development opportunities for teachers of culturally and linguistically diverse students. She teaches courses in planning, instruction and assessment, how people learn (neuroscience), literacy instruction in the primary classroom, and instruction and assessment for emergent bilinguals.

Yalda M. Kaveh, MEd, is a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College. Her research interests are in bilingualism, heritage language maintenance in children of immigrants, and language policy. Ms. Kaveh has taught English and Persian to adolescent and adult language learners for several years prior to and during her graduate studies in the United States. She has been working with K–8 teachers in Greater Boston on addressing the needs of emergent bilinguals through literacy instruction.

Christine M. Leighton, EdD, is Assistant Professor of Education at Emmanuel College in Boston. She is interested in better understanding the literacy learning experiences of children and adults who are acquiring English as another language. She is devoted to helping preservice and inservice teachers understand literacy and language development to effectively teach English learners.

Francesca López, PhD, is Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Research in Classrooms in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Arizona. Her research, which is focused on the ways educational settings inform Latino student identity and achievement, has been funded by the American Educational Research Association Grants Program, an Early Career Award from Division 15 of the American Psychological Association, and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Dr. López is currently coeditor of the American Educational Research Journal and senior associate editor of the American Journal of Education.

Susan P. O’Hara, PhD, is Executive Director of Resourcing Excellence in Education at the University of California, Davis, and cofounder of the Academic Language Development Network. She is co-principal investigator on an Improving Teacher Quality grant focused on California districts’ development of integrated professional learning systems. Dr. O’Hara is also a member of the leadership team for the Understanding Language initiative at Stanford University. She has coauthored more than 50 publications, including the book Common Core Standards in Diverse Classrooms: Essential Practices for Developing Academic Language and Disciplinary Literacy.

Marcela Ossa Parra, MA, is Assistant Professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Education, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, and a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum and Instruction PhD Program at Boston College. She has published articles about educational policy, self-regulated learning, thesis supervision, and citizen education in practitioner books and academic journals, including Reflective Practice, Pensamiento Educativo Revista de Investigación Educacional Latinoamericana, and Voces y Silencios: Revista Latinoamericana de Educación.

Jeanne R. Paratore, EdD, is Professor of Education, Faculty Director of the Literacy and Language Education Cluster, and Program Director of Reading and Literacy Education at Boston University. She also serves as Director of the Donald D. Durrell Reading and Writing Clinic. She has published on issues related to family literacy, classroom grouping practices, interventions for struggling readers, and literacy coaching. Dr. Paratore is an elected member of the Reading Hall of Fame and a recipient of the New England Reading Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ida M. Johnson Award honoring distinguished alumni of Boston University’s School of Education.

Robert Pritchard, PhD, Professor of Education in the College of Education at Sacramento State University, is a language and literacy specialist who has worked extensively with schools, school districts, and state departments of education on a wide range of professional development projects. A classroom teacher and reading specialist for over a decade, he has also worked internationally as an ESL teacher, teacher trainer, and curriculum specialist. Dr. Pritchard has authored or coauthored numerous publications related to emergent bilinguals, innovative uses of technology, and professional development for teachers, including Common Core Standards in Diverse Classrooms: Essential Practices for Developing Academic Language and Disciplinary Literacy.

Dana A. Robertson, EdD, is Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Literacy Research Center and Clinic at the University of Wyoming. He has conducted research and written on classroom discourse, comprehension instruction, struggling readers and writers, coaching, and teacher professional development related to literacy. Dr. Robertson is a coauthor of Talk That Teaches: Using Strategic Talk to Help Students Achieve the Common Core and has published articles in several

leading journals, including The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, Language Arts, and the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

Vanessa Santiago Schwarz, MS, is a doctoral student in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity at the University of Colorado Boulder. She spent 8 years working as an elementary school teacher, primarily with students with special needs in New York City’s dual-language programs, and spent 2 years teaching internationally. In addition to teaching in public schools, Ms. Schwarz worked as an adjunct instructor in Bank Street College’s Teacher Education Program. She is passionate about working with preservice and inservice teachers to create inclusive learning experiences that meet the needs of all students.

Pat Scialoia, BS, has been a teacher in the Boston Public Schools for 20 years. He has partnered with Dr. María Estela Brisk and the Lynch School of Education at Boston College for the past 7 years. During this time, he has seen drastic improvement in the writing of all his students. Bilingual learners are thriving in his fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms.

Peet Smith, MA, is a doctoral student in Special Education in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Under the advisement of Dr. Ana Taboada Barber, Ms. Smith is interested in exploring the multidimensional nature of student engagement for struggling readers and emergent bilinguals in upper elementary and middle school.

Ana Taboada Barber, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on the examination of classroom contexts that support reading engagement for monolingual and second-language learners. She is currently working on the development of frameworks within the engagement model as they apply to second-language learners, and has led the development of United States History for Engaged Reading, a literacy curriculum for middle school students of diverse language backgrounds. Dr. Taboada Barber’s research has been published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and the Journal of Literacy Research, among others. She was also a classroom teacher in bilingual schools in Buenos Aires before coming to the United States as a Fulbright scholar.

Beverly Timothy, MEd, has been an elementary educator in Boston Public Schools for the past 9 years. She teaches a hybrid class of emergent bilinguals and native speakers of English. Ms. Timothy has been working with Dr. María Estela Brisk and the Lynch School of Education at Boston College for the past 5 years teaching writing, using the systemic functional linguistics approach.

Kara Mitchell Viesca, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research agenda focuses on advancing equity in the policy and practice of educator development for general education teachers of multilingual learners. Dr. Viesca is the lead principal investigator on the eCALLMS grant.

Christopher J. Wagner, MA, is a doctoral candidate in Language and Literacy at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. He is a former secondary English teacher and founder of an out-of-school writing program. Mr. Wagner’s research explores the connections among literacy, bilingualism, and identity in young children.

Jeff Zwiers, EdD, is a senior researcher at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. He supports the Understanding Language initiative and codirects the Academic Language Development Network, a research and professional development project focused on the education of academic emergent bilinguals. Dr. Zwiers has published articles and books on literacy, cognition, discourse, and academic language. His current research focuses on effective lesson planning and classroom practices that foster academic interactions and literacy.


K–8 teachers in ESL, bilingual, and general education classrooms; ELL specialists; graduate students in literacy, bilingual education, and ESL certification programs.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.