English Language Learners Research

Science Educative Materials Innovation for Language Learner Advancement (SEMILLA)

The Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading teacher’s guide is designed to help teachers learn about and implement best practices when teaching English language learners. SEMILLA is a large-scale study in which Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading researchers examine the impact of those features on teacher learning and practice. Preliminary reports suggest positive effects.

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    By Cervetti, Gina N., Marco A. Bravo, Thao Duong, Sera Hernandez, and Jennifer Tilson

    In a research report prepared for the Noyce Foundation in June of 2008,Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading researchers conducted an extensive review of research on effective and proven instruction for English language learners. The report then outlines a set of four principles that help make science instruction accessible for English language learners. These principles center on accommodations for vocabulary, discourse, writing, and reading.

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    By Bravo, Marco A., Elfrieda H. Hiebert, and P. David Pearson
    In Wagner, Richard K., Andrea E. Muse, and Kendra R. Tannenbaum (Eds.), Vocabulary Acquisition: Implications for Reading Comprehension, The Guilford Press, 2007

    This paper explores relationship between a set of Spanish/English cognates that have the potential for assisting Spanish/English bilinguals’ experiences with science texts. Spanish and English share many cognates, including some that are highly frequent in Spanish but less frequent in English. Consequently, Spanish/English bilinguals possess a linguistic resource that includes many words that, while commonplace in Spanish (e.g., enfermo), are reserved for scientific and academic registers in English (e.g., infirm). For first language Spanish students these words might well aid in accessing core English words and in gaining understandings of science texts. An analysis of the frequency of key vocabulary in three science units revealed a substantial number of these frequency-imbalanced cognate pairs.