By now it’s a given: if we’re to help our ELLs and SELs access the rigorous demands of today’s content standards, we must cultivate the “code” that drives school success: academic language. Look no further for assistance than this much-anticipated series from Ivannia Soto, in which she invites field authorities Jeff Zwiers, David and Yvonne Freeman, Margarita Calderon, and Noma LeMoine to share every teacher’s need-to-know strategies on the four essential components of academic language. The subject of this volume is conversational discourse. Here, Jeff Zwiers reveals the power of academic conversation in helping students develop language, clarify concepts, comprehend complex texts, and fortify thinking and relational skills. With this book as your roadmap, you’ll learn how to: • Foster the skills and language students must develop for productive interactions • Implement strategies for scaffolding paired conversations • Assess student’s oral language development as you go It’s imperative that our ELLs and SELs practice academic language in rich conversations with others in school, especially when our classrooms may be their only opportunities to receive modeling, scaffolding, and feedback focused on effective discourse. This book, in concert with the other three volumes in the series, can provide both a foundation and a framework for accelerating the learning of diverse students across grade levels and disciplines.
Chapter One: Introduction to the Book Series
Introduction to the Book Series
According to the Migration Policy Institute (2013), close to 5 million U.S. students, which represent 9 percent of public school enrollment, are English language learners (ELLs). Three-quarters of these 5 million students were born in the United States and are either the children or grandchildren of immigrants. In some large urban school districts such as Los Angeles, ELLs already comprise around 30 percent of the student population. These demographic trends, along with the rigorous content expectations of new content and language standards (e.g., CCSS, WIDA, ELPA21, etc.), require that educational systems become skilled at simultaneously scaffolding academic language and content for this growing group of students. For ELLs, academic language mastery is the key to ...