Language Differences that Influence Reading Development

Instructional Implications of Alternative Interpretations of the Research Evidence

Authored by: Jim Cummins

Handbook of Individual Differences in Reading

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415658874
eBook ISBN: 9780203075562
Adobe ISBN: 9781135120931


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During the past decade, four major syntheses of research evidence have been published regarding the academic achievement of students whose home language (L1) is different from the dominant language of instruction at school (henceforth termed linguistically diverse students). Three of these syntheses have focused primarily on research and policy issues in the United States and one has focused on the performance of immigrant-background students on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The most comprehensive review carried out in the United States context was the report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth entitled Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners (August & Shanahan, 2006, 2008a). This report appeared in the same year as a volume edited by Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders, and Christian (2006) entitled Educating English Language Learners: A Synthesis of Research Evidence. More recently, the California Department of Education (2010) published Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches, which highlighted the instructional implications and applications of the research evidence. Dolson and Burnham-Massey (2011) addressed similar issues in an adjunct monograph entitled Redesigning English-Medium Classrooms: Using Research to Enhance English Learner Achievement published by the California Association for Bilingual Education.

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