Identity Texts and Literacy Development Among Preschool English Language Learners: Enhancing Learning Opportunities for Children at Risk for Learning Disabilities
by Judith K. Bernhard, Jim Cummins, F. Isabel Campoy, Alma Flor Ada, Adam Winsler & Charles Bleiker — 2006
There is little research on English language learners (ELLs) in relation to learning disability (LD) assessment and identification. More important, there is a scarcity of research on models and strategies that enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for ELLs prior to an LD diagnosis. We describe in this article an innovative language intervention program involving the creation of bilingual, student self-authored identity texts. Called the Early Authors Program (EAP), the intervention stands as an example of how spaces and opportunities for literacy development among young ELLs can be created in a classroom instructional environment. The EAP, which reached 800 families, was evaluated using a combination of methods and instruments. The goal of the evaluation component was to collect data spanning one year from 325 randomly selected participating children in both control and experimental groups. Among its several beneficial outcomes, the EAP had demonstrably positive effects on children’s language scores and appears to have strengthened their identities and fostered their self-esteem. Because a proportion of these students would be at risk for LD, we propose the implementation of programs of this type generally for ELL children, and especially for those considered likely to have future school-related difficulties.
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