Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 23

Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No.

1 55

Linguistic Intervention
Techniques for At-Risk English
Language Learners
Elke Schneider
Winthrop University

Tsila Evers
College of Mount Saint Joseph

Abstract: In U.S. public schools, the population of nonnative speakers of English who
are at risk for failing language requirements is growing. This article presents multisensory
structured language (MSL) teaching strategies to remediate these students’ difficulties in
reading, writing, and speaking English. These strategies are underscored by recent findings
of cross-linguistic studies. The MSL strategies are evidence-based and can be applied to
any language. They are supported by a variety of teaching resources to assist instructors in
helping at-risk English language learners improve their English language skills.

Key words: at-risk language learner, cross-linguistics, foreign language learning,

multisensory language instruction, second language learning

Language: German, Hebrew, English as a second language

Evidence-based teaching strategies for working with at-risk English language
learners (at-risk ELLs) are essential for today’s educators. At-risk ELLs are defined
as nonnative speakers of English who are at risk for failing curricular and stan-
dardized school requirements because of their limited English proficiency. Focus
on this population is essential because 10% of U.S. public school students are ELLs;
they are growing at a rate of 9% a year (Whelan Ariza, Morales-Jones, Yaya, &
Zainuddin, 2006). However, research on at-risk ELLs’ linguistic challenges is fairly
recent (e.g., see Fawcett & Lynch, 2000; Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders,
& Christian, 2006; Geva, 2000; Geva, Yaghoub-Zadeh, & Schuster, 2000; Ndlovu
& Geva, 2008). In addition, national educational standards demand that ELLs take
high-stakes tests normed for native speakers within 2.5 to 3 years of going to school
in the United States (No Child Left Behind, 2001). Yet research documents that it

Elke Schneider (PhD, University of Eichstätt, Germany) is Associate Professor of

Special Education, Literacy and Second Language Acquisition at Winthrop Univer-
sity, Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Tsila Evers (PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) is Assistant Professor of

Educational Psychology at the College of Mount Saint Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio.
56 Spring 2009

takes at least 5–7 years to acquire native refers to transfer that leads to an error in L2
speaker competencies in academics (Cum- (Klein, 1992).
mins, 2000; Whelan Ariza et al., 2006). Findings about cross-linguistic transfer
This discrepancy between taking high- are relevant for both language instructors
stakes tests and the time it takes to acquire and students. Instructors provide a method
native competence presents a considerable for helping students to anticipate and recog-
challenge for ELLs and their instructors. nize sources of language confusions or
Further, a disproportionate number of ELLs complications (Koda, 2005, 2007; Swan &
are falsely placed in special education (Au- Smith, 2001). In turn, students develop an
gust & Shanahan, 2006, 2007; National understanding of how to become indepen-
Reading Panel, 2000) because ELL-sensitive dent learners who utilize what they know in
assessment of language processing skills one language when learning another lan-
and instructional practices seem to be im- guage (Kohnert & Derr, 2004; Whelan
properly or insufficiently applied (Artiles & Ariza et al., 2006).
Ortiz, 2002; Echevarria & Graves, 1989). Cross-linguistic research in foreign
Evidence-based strategies referred to and L2 learning since the 1980s presents
as multisensory structured language (MSL) evidence for the value of a cross-linguistic
instruction show promise for teaching approach to L2 instruction. For instance, in
ELLs, and they are based on cross-linguistic the early 1980s, Cummins documented that
research. Thus, in this article, we first pro- ELLs’ success in L2 depends on knowledge
vide a review of cross-linguistic literature of the structures of L1. He referred to these
as it relates to ELLs. We then explain L1-L2 relationships as the Linguistic Inter-
the rationale for and the principles of MSL dependence Hypothesis (Cummins, 1979,
instruction. Last, we present examples of 1984) and speculated that the quality of
MSL strategies for teaching English pro- exposure to L2, fostering of L1 in the home
nunciation, reading, spelling, vocabulary, environment, and degree of command of L1
and grammar. influence the success of transfer from L1 to
L2 (Cummins, 1979). The stronger and
more advanced ELLs’ competence in L1, the
Cross-Linguistic Research better their performance in L2. In addition,
Cross-linguistics clarifies how and to what research related to the Linguistic Coding
degree languages differ and overlap, and how Differences Hypothesis (LCDH), a term
second/foreign language learners utilize their coined by Ganschow and Sparks (Sparks,
existing language knowledge about their first 1995; Sparks & Ganschow, 1993; Sparks,
language(s) when learning a second language Ganschow, & Pohlman, 1989), provides
(Koda, 2005). A basic component of cross- support for a cross-linguistic approach to
linguistics is language transfer, which refers language teaching, especially for at-risk
to using knowledge in the native language language learners. Research on the LCDH
(L1) to perform in the new, second, or target has shown that difficulties in one language
language (L2). Research has established that may resurface when an additional language
language transfer occurs throughout all is being acquired (e.g., Sparks & Ganschow,
stages of second/foreign language learning 1993; Sparks, Ganschow, Artzer, & Patton,
and in all linguistic domains. These domains 1997; Sparks, Ganschow, Kenneweg, &
include reading and writing (e.g., Frith, Miller, 1991; Sparks, Ganschow, Pohlman,
2007; Geva & Siegel, 2000; Gottardo, 2002), Artzer, & Skinner, 1992; Sparks et al., 1998;
speaking (Chiappe & Siegel, 1999; Wang, Sparks, Patton, Ganschow, Humbach, &
Park, & Lee, 2006), and listening (Koda, Javorsky, 2008). In particular, Sparks’ and
2007). Positive cross-linguistic transfer oc- Ganschow’s research has provided evidence
curs when the transfer from L1 to L2 results that difficulties with phonological pro-
in a correct utterance in L2. Negative transfer cessing (pronunciation) and phonological-
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 57

orthographic processing (knowledge of In addition, research shows that students

letter-sound relationships that affects read- learning more regular, transparent alphabets
ing, writing, and spelling) may cause learn- (e.g., Greek, Finnish, Italian, German) as
ers of a second language to fail early their first language reach proficient levels of
(Ganschow & Sparks, 2000, 2001). Several fluency faster than students who learn less
studies have replicated these findings with regular, opaque alphabets first (e.g., English,
ELLs whose native languages were Spanish French) (Wolf, 2007). Furthermore, research
(Durgunoglu, Nagy, & Hancin-Bhatt, findings show that students use different
1993), Finnish (Dufva & Voeten, 1999), parts of the brain when reading in two lan-
Dutch (van Gelderen, Schoonen, Stoel, guages with two different print systems and
Glopper, & Hulstijn, 2007), and Hebrew different reading directions (e.g., right to left,
(Kahn-Horowitz, Shimron, & Sparks, 2005, top to bottom). For instance, seventh graders
2006; Olshtain, Shohamy, Kemp, & Cha- with Hebrew as their native language showed
tow, 1990). a right visual field preference when reading
Cross-linguistic research in connection Hebrew, compared to a left visual field pref-
with neuroscientific advances also provides erence when reading English (Silverberg,
support for the implementation of explicit Bentin, Gaziel, & Obler, 1979). Speakers of a
cross-linguistic instruction when teaching logographic language, such as Chinese, have
ELLs. Several findings have emerged that been found to use distinctly different brain
underscore the relevance of a cross-linguistic connections than speakers of an alphabetic
approach for teaching ELLs. For example, language such as English. This habit of lan-
this research has shown that cross-linguistic guage processing in an L1 ‘‘conditions’’ the
transfer of language skills from L1 to L2 oc- brain in how to process another language in a
curs at all stages of language development reading task (Wolf, 2007).
and increases with the learners’ degree of In sum, neuroscientific advances support
language competence in L1 (Durgunoglu, the finding that learners utilize linguistic
2002; Koda, 2005, 2007). Specifically, stu- knowledge of their L1 in the acquisition of a
dents appear to transfer the reading strategies new language. This cross-linguistic process
learned in one language to L2 regardless of continues into the advanced stages of L2
differences in complexity of letter-sound language development (see Koda, 2007). The
patterns (Frith, 2007; Kucer & Tuten, 2003). aforementioned findings support the rele-
Moreover, research by Sparks and colleagues vance of analyzing language learners’ oral
reveals that oral and written L1 proficiency and written performance from a contrastive,
may have positive long-term transfer effects cross-linguistic approach in order to design
on L2 performance, i.e., stronger L1 profi- the most effective language learning activities.
ciency is related to stronger L2 performance Research findings suggest that MSL
(e.g., Sparks, Ganschow, Artzer, Siebenhar, & instruction in combination with a cross-
Plageman, 1998; Sparks, Ganschow, & Pat- linguistic understanding shows promise for
ton, 2008; Sparks, Ganschow, Patton, Artzer, struggling ELLs. In the next section, we
Siebenhar, & Plageman, 1997; Sparks, Pat- discuss this research and the principles
ton, Ganschow, & Humbach, in press; underlying MSL instruction. Later, we
Sparks, Patton, Ganschow, Humbach, & demonstrate the application of MSL princi-
Javorsky, in press, 2008). If an additional ples for ELLs.
language is acquired at an early age, the
learners will utilize one neural language sys-
tem for both languages. However, the older Multisensory Structured
the foreign/L2 learner, the more likely he or Instruction and Related
she will utilize two separate language sys- Research
tems. This results in making learning less Cross-linguistic comparisons and transfers
efficient (Fletcher et al., 1997; Wolf, 2007). of linguistic concepts from L1 to L2 appear
58 Spring 2009

to occur with relative ease for many students, Sparks & Ganschow, 1993; Sparks, Gans-
but not for at-risk language learners (e.g., chow, et al., 1992; Sparks et al., 1998; Sparks
see Ganschow & Sparks, 1995; Sparks & et al., 1991; Schneider, 1999; Schneider &
Ganschow, 1993; Sparks et al., 1998). Learn- Crombie, 2003).
ers who have difficulties acquiring an L2 In the following section, we examine
need explicit instruction in how to make MSL teaching principles.
cross-linguistic comparisons. MSL instruc-
tion does this by showing the learner (and
instructor) a method for applying cross- Principles of MSL Instruction
linguistic comparisons (e.g., Schneider, Effective MSL instruction is based on seven
1999; Schneider & Crombie, 2003; Schnei- principles that the instructor integrates into
der & Ganschow, 2000; Sparks, Schneider, language instruction (Birsh, 2005, 2006;
& Ganschow, 2002). Henry, 1996; Rome & Osman, 2000). These
principles are stated below, and examples
appear in a subsequent section.
Rationale for MSL Instruction First, language is taught in a multisen-
In L1 learning, MSL strategies have been sory fashion. Students are taught to use
used successfully for a number of years auditory, visual, and tactile-kinesthetic
(Birsh, 2005; Henry & Hook, 2006; McIntyre learning channels simultaneously. Second,
& Pickering, 2003). Research in L2 of pre- the ELL instructor creates a learning envi-
dominantly alphabetic languages provides ronment that fosters metalinguistic aware-
preliminary evidence for the effective use ness, i.e., explicit knowledge about the
of MSL with at-risk language learners. patterns of language (Palincsar & Brown,
Alphabetic languages that have been inves- 1984). Third, the ELL instructor makes
tigated include German (Schneider, 1999), language patterns explicit by directly
English (Kahn-Horowitz et al., 2005, 2006; teaching the concepts (Pearson & Gallag-
Nijakowska, 2008), Spanish and French her, 1983). Fourth, the ELL instructor
(Sparks, Ganschow, Artzer, & Patton, 1997; provides students with opportunities for
Sparks et al., 1991; Sparks, Ganschow et al., over-learning through practice and frequent
1992). For instance, in one study Sparks review so that the skill becomes automatic.
and colleagues found that after two years of Fifth, language concepts are taught in logi-
MSL instruction in L2, at-risk L2 learners cal, sequential steps from simple to more
achieved levels of L2 proficiency that were complex tasks. Sixth, the instructor uses
equal to those of non-at-risk language a cumulative approach by connecting
learners (Sparks et al., 1998). what the students know with the new in-
For ELLs with mother tongues that formation. Seventh, the ELL instructor
follow distinctly different linguistic rules assesses student learning with potential
than English for oral and written perfor- cross-linguistic challenges in mind and
mance, MSL strategies clarify how and adapts instruction as needed.
why English is different from their native
language(s). This cross-linguistic knowl-
edge, combined with concrete MSL learning Applying MSL Principles in
strategies, provides ELLs with more efficient Teaching ELLS
language acquisition than conventional com- In this section, we present sample teaching
municative approaches that rely on implicit strategies based on the seven MSL princi-
language processing. Linking the L1 to the ples in the areas of pronunciation, spelling,
L2 provides explicit metalinguistic awareness reading, vocabulary, and grammar. Each
to benefit ELLs’ performance in the new area has four phases: (1) explicit demon-
language (Kahn-Horowitz et al., 2005, 2006; stration of a given language concept, (2)
Koda, 2007; Moats, 1994; Nijakowska, 2008; guided student practice, (3) free student
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 59

practice in context, and (4) student summa- otherwise abstract concept. Grouping letters
ries of learned information. Each language according to their way of pronunciation (e.g.,
aspect concludes with sample cross-linguis- lip-poppers, teeth-touchers) and showing
tic questions for instructors to consider. pictures of mouth movements for sounds
Examples are provided in German, an alpha- helps students learn self-correction strategies
betic language, and Hebrew, a contrasting (e.g., see Lindamood & Lindamood, 1993).
language with a Semitic alphabet and gram- To directly link awareness of the print
mar (for additional cross-linguistic questions system with sound, students can pronounce
in other languages, see Swan & Smith, 2001). the sound and trace the corresponding let-
ter pattern in rice or sand. For sound
pronunciation practice, letter-sound cards
Pronunciation: Making Sense of the
are used. These 4  6 cards show a single
New Sound System English letter (e.g., p, qu, a) or common
Generally, neither ELL-certified nor English letter pattern (ch, -tch, oi, ay, -tion) on the
language arts instructors have been trained to front. On the back, the cards include infor-
provide explicit pronunciation practice of mation about the pronunciation options
essential letter-sound patterns in a language of the letter pattern. (For card samples in
(August & Shanahan, 2006; Moats, 1994, English and German, see Appendixes A and
2000). In L1 reading, voluminous research B; for commercial letter-sound card materi-
has found that students who are taught and als, see Henry, 1996 and Rome and Osman,
learn the letter-sound conventions in a lan- 2000.) Pronunciation practice at the word
guage invariably become better readers and level progresses from blending single letter/
spellers than students who are not taught or sound patterns (e.g., c1a1t1s) into mono-
do not learn letter-sound relationships (e.g., syllabic words (e.g., cats) to blending sylla-
see McCardle & Chhabra, 2004). Likewise, bles of common prefixes, roots, and suffixes
knowing how to implement explicit multi- together into multisyllabic words, e.g.,
sensory pronunciation and letter-sound in1vent1ed into invented. (For a sample
awareness instruction will lead to significant prefix card, see Appendix C; for advanced
improvement of appropriate pronunciation cards, see Rome and Osman, 2003.) In cases
(Birsh, 2005; Koda, 2005; Moats, 1995; of multiple pronunciations for one spelling,
Shaywitz, 2003). Some research has found the most common spelling is taught first,
that reading and spelling are important for followed by less common spellings several
learning to speak a language because print lessons later. Letter-sound concepts taught
provides the ‘‘visual-spatial representation’’ of in close proximity must differ in the way
speech and leads to sustained, stronger liter- they look and sound to avoid confusion,
acy skills (e.g., Ehri, 1998). e.g., avoid teaching the letter pattern oa
immediately after oo because they look simi-
Phase 1: Introduction and Explicit lar, or avoid teaching short e and short i in
Demonstration of Pronunciation close proximity because they sound similar.
Using a mirror, the instructor demonstrates
explicitly how the vocal apparatus (i.e., ton- Phase 2: Guided Pronunciation Practice
gue, teeth, lips, nose, vocal cords) is used to For this practice, students make their own
produce sounds correctly. Students repeat deck of letter-sound cards. The deck grad-
sounds immediately after the instructor and ually grows as students learn more letter-
watch themselves in mirrors. Students feel sound patterns. Using their own decks of
the difference between voiced and unvoiced self-created letter-sound cards (for con-
sounds, feeling vibrations in the nose or trastive examples of an English and a
throat with their hands. This technique German card deck, see Appendixes A, B,
allows them to understand concretely an and C), students practice blending letter
60 Spring 2009

patterns into words, first in correspondence which to keep it and how to use it. A lan-
with the instructor’s examples and then in guage resource folder is an essential
teams of two with their own word creations. component in MSL language instruction.
The instructor can foster ‘‘think aloud prac- The folder can contain individual lists
tice.’’ An overhead projector or Prometheum of non-phonetic words (i.e., words such
Board helps the instructor demonstrate letter as through, women, and carry that break
patterns and words with key pronunciation spelling or pronunciation rules), summary
patterns. Students can also dictate sounds to information sheets about letter-sound
each other. Partners repeat the sound and patterns, spelling and reading strategies,
then write the spellings for the sound. and common grammatical and vocabulary
building patterns. The folder can also sys-
tematically help collect idiomatic expres-
Phase 3: Free Pronunciation Practice in
sions and phrasal verbs, homophones and
homographs, and individual lists of difficult
Students apply their newly gained pronun-
spelling words.
ciation skills in a variety of ways. The
instructor can provide tongue twisters with Cross-Linguistic Questions for
five to six words that carry the new pro- Pronunciation Practice
nunciation or encourage students to create The following sample questions assist ELL
and read their own words and sentences to instructors and students in understanding
each other (e.g., for the sound of /p/: To and remediating pronunciation difficulties:
prepare for the party, place popped popcorn on Which sounds do English and the ELLs’ L1
a pretty purple plate!). Students can also share, which are unique to only one of the
practice pronunciation in authentic con- two languages, and which might only differ
texts by reading aloud poems that contain slightly? For instance, the pronunciation
many of the new pronunciation patterns of the English letter pattern fthg causes a
(for poems, see Prelutzky, 1984, 1990, problem for native speakers of German and
1996; Silverstein, 1974, 1981, 1996). Stu- Hebrew because it does not exist in these
dents may also write poems or riddles languages. Native speakers of German and
themselves (for a sample riddle, see Ap- Hebrew often replace the correct pronunci-
pendix D; for intonation practice, see ation with a similar sound that exists in
Graham, 1986, 1988, 1993). their L1, e.g., /z/.

Phase 4: Summary of Newly Learned Spelling and Reading: Making Sense of

Pronunciations the Orthographic System
Students summarize new sound-letter in- Since English derives from many languages
formation on a summary sheet (see example (e.g., German, French, Latin, Greek), its
in Appendix E). This summary sheet allows orthographic system is not based on a sim-
them to (1) associate the new letter-sound ple ‘‘one-letter one-sound basis’’ but rather
pattern with meaningful illustrated key requires appropriate application of multiple
words, (2) document how to remember the spellings for a sound and multiple pronun-
pronunciation via association with their L1 ciations for a print pattern (for an overview
to enhance positive cross-linguistic transfer, of the English letter-sound pattern, see
(3) have an illustration or notes about Appendix F). English is a nontransparent,
mouth movements needed for proper pro- opaque language (Henry, 2003; Moats,
nunciation, and (4) retain information 1995). Learning to read by learning to spell
about which pronunciation for a letter is is therefore an effective approach to enhance
used in a given word. After a sheet is com- at-risk ELLs’ reading and spelling skills
pleted, the instructor shows the students (Casalis, Colé, & Sopo, 2004; Henry, 2003;
the part of the language resource folder in Moats, 1995; Pena & Stubbe Kester, 2004).
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 61

Research has also shown that the abil- asks students to read the word syllable by
ity to sound (decode) words of different syllable before blending these syllables into
lengths and blend them together fluently the whole word. This procedure assures that
increases reading comprehension (Kame’enui, students avoid guessing unfamiliar words
Simmons, Good, & Harn, 2001; Levy, 2001; or using context to read words, a strategy
Torgesen, Rashotte, & Alexander, 2001). that has been found to be ineffective for
Word decoding skills also strengthen stu- reading comprehension (e.g., see Vellutino,
dents’ spelling skills (Moats, 1995, 2000). 1991; Stanovich, 2000). For additional syl-
In addition, research shows that explicit lable division rules, see Henry (2003) and
context cue instruction combined with Moats (2000).
highlighting of words, use of sticky notes, To further enhance text comprehension
and graphing key information enhances skills, the instructor demonstrates explicitly
reading comprehension significantly (e.g., how different text types convey information.
Geva, 1983, 1992; Paris, Wasik, & Turner, The instructor makes the different informa-
1991). Instructors cannot assume that at- tion structures of reports (e.g., introduction,
risk ELLs know how to apply word decoding main part with topic statement, argument,
and spelling strategies effectively without supporting examples, and conclusion) or
explicit instruction and ample practice. narrative stories (e.g., setting, time, problem,
conflict, resolution of conflict) explicit by
writing these pieces of information on paper
Phase 1: Explicit Demonstration of manipulatives of different shapes and colors
Spelling/Reading Strategies (e.g., main arguments on big yellow key-
In order to comprehend text, students must shaped symbols, supporting examples on
first be able to decode (read) the words smaller white key-shaped symbols, settings
(Rayner, Foorman, Perfetti, Pesetsky, & on a tree-shaped symbol). These symbols can
Seidenberg, 2001; Stanovich, 2000). As the also be integrated into graphic organizers
text increases in difficulty, students encoun- that help the students identify which infor-
ter multisyllabic words and must be able to mation the text entails (see example in
read these words for effective compre- Appendix G). On their own, students can use
hension. Teaching students how to divide sticky notes that carry established text infor-
unfamiliar words into their separate syllables mation symbols (e.g., a clock symbol for time
before blending them back into the entire information) to identify essential text infor-
word enhances their decoding skills. For mation. Reading comprehension is also
instance, with the word candy written on a enhanced by explicit instruction on how to
large card, the instructor demonstrates how use markers to highlight key information,
to first identify those parts of the word that graphic organizers, flow charts (Geva, 1983),
produce vowel sounds (letters a and y) by and notes in the students’ first language. For
underlining the vowels showing candy. Stu- details on text information symbols, see
dents learn that each syllable must have a Greene and Enfield (2000a, 2000b).
vowel sound. Thus, the word candy has two
syllables because the word has two vowel
sounds. Next, the instructor counts the con- Spelling
sonants between the two vowel sounds and To ensure effective spelling, common spell-
points out that the even number of conso- ing rules are explicitly taught and asso-
nants between the vowels requires breaking ciated with short meaningful mnemonic
the word between the two consonants into devices. One example of a spelling rule
fcan.dyg. To show students that each sylla- taught in such a way is the spelling rule of
ble is read separately, the instructor cuts final silent e in words such as fume, re.tape,
the word apart at the syllable division dot or dis.pute. This rule is taught with the im-
between letters fng and fdg in candy and age of final e as an ‘‘alphabet nurse.’’ In this
62 Spring 2009

role, final silent e assures that each preced- resources, see Bowen, 1983). During spell-
ing single vowel can say its name by ing practice, students orally repeat the
standing at the end of the word ‘‘silently and given spelling task (word, phrase, or sen-
politely’’ with an invisible injection needle. tence) before they start to write. When they
With a needle ‘‘in hand,’’ alphabet nurse finish, students are asked to reread what
final e reaches to the left over the consonant they wrote. In this phase, students can utilize
and gives the preceding single vowel all its the ‘‘finger tapping’’ strategy in the nonwrit-
power to make a long sound. Students can ing hand. For each sound that students hear
illustrate or act out this procedure with in a word, they tap one finger on the paper
small plastic injection needles on additional and check what they wrote for each sound.
sample words. Concrete metalinguistic rea- For multisyllabic words, the finger-tapping
soning and multisensory, kinesthetic-tactile process is completed for each syllable sepa-
learning of an otherwise abstract concept rately to assure that students do not ‘‘run out
reduces the use of linguistic terminology of fingers’’ in longer words.
and engages students interactively and as-
sures successful recall of the spelling rule
Phase 3: Free Reading/Spelling Practice
(Moats, 1995, 2000).
in Context
To practice newly learned spelling and
reading strategies in context, instructors
Phase 2: Guided Spelling/Reading
can prepare riddles for students that include
the new spelling pattern (for resources
Guided reading practice can include read-
of words, see Bowen, 1983; see example,
ing words, phrases, and sentences that
Appendix D). Students can also create their
contain many words with the new spelling
own riddles or mini-stories and read them to
pattern (for words sorted according to
each other. To establish an understanding for
spelling patterns, see Bowen, 1983). At the
the different print variations of spelling pat-
word level, it is helpful to blend and decode
terns, students can search through magazines
words with the letter-sound cards previ-
and cut out print variations (e.g., fighg or
ously used for pronunciation practice.
fingg in words such as ftightg and fgoingg).
During such practice, students can also
strengthen spelling skills by verbalizing
why words are spelled a certain way. To gain Phase 4: Summary of Newly Learned
confidence in reading content area words Spelling/Reading Strategies
with affixes and roots (i.e., words with pre- At the end of a spelling or reading strategy
fix-root-suffix constructions such as re.heat. lesson, students summarize each strategy
ing or con.struc.tion), at-risk students can on an information summary form that serves
create multisyllabic words with cards that as a resource for test preparation and for
each carry a root or affix (for sample cards, when they encounter difficulties in reading
see Henry, 1996; Rome & Osman, 2003). and spelling assignments. Each sheet pro-
An example for a word created with two vides space for (1) the name of the spelling
cards might be fcon.tractg. Efficiency in and/or reading strategy, (2) graphic repre-
recalling the meaning of these morphemes sentations of the strategy/rule, (3) contrastive
increases when they are practiced in asso- comments related to the student’s L1 to
ciation with a gesture (e.g., a gesture for con enhance positive cross-linguistic transfer, (4)
symbolizing ‘‘together/with’’ and a gesture information about the types of words and
for tract symbolizing ‘‘pulling’’). Newly cre- texts in which these spelling and reading
ated words and new spelling patterns patterns commonly occur, (5) when to use
should be read and spelled in meaningful the strategy and how not to confuse it with
phrases and sentences to expand students’ any similar patterns or strategies, and (6)
receptive and expressive vocabulary (for any mnemonic devices to assist the ELL in
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 63

recalling the strategy. After a sheet is com- able to comprehend with fluency (e.g., see
pleted, the instructor demonstrates the part Carver, 1994, 2000; Hu & Nation, 2000).
of the language resource folder in which to Especially in the initial learning stages, pic-
keep it and how to use it (for details, see tures and actions can illustrate what ELLs
Schneider, 1999). cannot comprehend orally or in writing.
For example, instructors can use pictures
Cross-Linguistic Questions for Spelling of classroom routines and school utensils.
and Reading Practice Vocabulary understanding increases when
The following sample questions assist ELL the instructor enunciates clearly and sup-
instructors and students in understand- ports oral language with gestures (Reiss,
ing and remediating spelling and reading 2001). Moreover, strategies from the Total
difficulties. Among the questions are the Physical Response approach (Asher, 1969)
following: Which print representations do can assist in teaching students at the initial
both languages share? Where are the dis- stages of language development. This type
tinct differences in print and sound-print of instruction and practice requires students
representations in the L1 and L2 that might to mimic gestures and repeat accompany-
present a challenge? Native speakers of ing language structures demonstrated by the
Hebrew, for instance, may struggle with instructor.
the differences between the Semitic and the Students should also be shown explicitly
Latin print systems. how to create their own vocabulary word re-
view system. For example, the instructor can
demonstrate how to create a vocabulary card.
Vocabulary: Making Sense of Words
On a 5  8 card, the instructor writes a key
and Expressions for Speech and word with a visual representation on the
Writing front. All other information about how to use
Recent research emphasizes that at-risk and pronounce the word (idioms, sample
ELLs will not be able to close achievement sentences, matching or differing L1 informa-
gaps unless effective content area vocabu- tion) is written on the back of the card. The
lary instruction takes place (Baumann & word on the front is covered with a small
Kame’enui, 2003; Reiss, 2001). Explicit sticky-note strip so that students can test
MSL vocabulary instruction assists in filling their vocabulary knowledge. The instructor
this gap, as it allows students to understand then demonstrates how to use the card for
the mechanisms behind word creations, personal study and review or for practice in
multiple meanings of words, and figurative collaboration with peers (for details, see
language features such as idioms and phra- Schneider, 1999; Ganschow, Sparks, &
sal verbs in English (e.g., Baumann & Schneider, 1995).
Kame’enui, 2003; Koda, 2005; Patterson & Advanced Vocabulary: Explicit demon-
Zurer-Pearson, 2004). In addition, this stration of how to expand vocabulary using
direct approach to vocabulary acquisition the base vocabulary includes creating words
provides student-centered study and recall with color-coded cards. Using cards in
strategies that gradually lead students from different colors for the various word parts,
instructor guidance to independence. the instructor demonstrates how com-
pound words or prefix-root-suffix words
Phase 1: Explicit Demonstration of are created and how to identify the mean-
Vocabulary Enhancement Strategies ings of these multisyllabic words. In the
Base Vocabulary: ELLs must first acquire case of compound words, for instance,
a good base vocabulary that allows them the instructor shows how the meaning is
to expand to more advanced vocabulary. created by placing a known base word such
Research indicates that the reader must as book (on a yellow card) after a known
know roughly 98% of the vocabulary to be specifier such as school (on green card).
64 Spring 2009

When students discover that the first word strategies provide students the opportunity
specifies the second, they not only under- to compare the new vocabulary words and
stand the word schoolbook but are also able expressions with words and expressions
to transfer that knowledge to other com- they know in their L1. (For resources, see
pound words after practicing with more Bell & Lindamood, 1998a, 1998b, 1998c;
examples. (For resources on teaching pre- Carraker, 2006; Ehrlich, 2000.)
fixes, roots, and suffixes, see Henry, 2003;
Rome & Osman, 2003; Schneider, 1999;
Phase 3: Free Vocabulary Practice
Ganschow et al., 1995).
in Context
Idioms and phrasal verb expressions
Students practice integrating newly learned
must be taught explicitly as well because
vocabulary patterns and expressions when
the parts of the expression rarely convey the
writing free-style poetry, riddles, or short
sum of the meaning. For example, instruc-
nonfiction statements related to content area
tors must demonstrate the meaning of
topics. Students can also search for new vo-
common idioms such as Don’t pull my leg!
cabulary words in each other’s writings or in
or as happy as a clam. They must also point
short text passages of different genres selected
out the difference in the meaning of phrasal
by the instructor. To assure appropriate read-
verbs such as apply for and apply to. Teach-
ing levels and age-appropriate information,
ing such expressions explicitly one or two
leveled readers can be used (for resources, see
at a time by discussing their use in short
http://www.wrightgroup.com or http://www.
reading scenarios, illustrations, or cartoons
highnoonbooks.com). Such cross-genre read-
can expand students’ vocabulary and oral
ing and writing practice shows students the
and written comprehension. (For resources
relevance of learning to expand their vocab-
by themes, see Conger, 2006.)
ulary across genres.

Phase 2: Guided Vocabulary Practice Phase 4: Summary of Newly Learned

Students can learn new vocabulary at the Information
individual word level by creating new Every time students have learned a new
words using color-coded or white cards vocabulary strategy (e.g., how to remember
similar to the demonstration phase based words of different patterns, idioms, phrasal
on prompting questions from the instruc- verbs), the instructor helps them summarize
tor. Asking the students to write their newly it on a special reference sheet that contains
created words on paper in the context of a (1) the new vocabulary pattern, (2) a per-
personally meaningful sentence helps the sonally meaningful sample sentence and
instructor identify vocabulary comprehen- illustration, (3) how the words or expres-
sion strengths and weaknesses. sions compare to L1 to enhance positive
Students can also practice the mean- cross-linguistic transfer, (4) ways to remem-
ings of previously taught words or figura- ber the pattern, and (5) any information
tive expressions (e.g., idioms and phrasal about texts that most commonly use the
verbs) in a game of Charades or Pictionary. word or expression. For word families (e.g.,
For Charades, students act out the vocabu- words with the root struct as in construct,
lary components using established or new instruction, or ending in -an as is pan, can,
gestures for peers to guess. For instance, the fan), students collect all patterns in a graphic
word constructor requires students to act organizer that provides space for illustrations
out fcong, fstructg, and f–org. In a Pictio- and comments about the L1. The word fam-
nary game, students draw word meanings ily with the root fduc/ductg (to lead) would
and figurative expressions for peers to show the root in the middle with prefixes to
identify. Then students use the words and its left and suffixes to its right, including
expressions in meaningful sentences. These space for illustrations or sample sentences.
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 65

After a sheet is completed, the instructor changes (e.g., tense or possession), how
demonstrates the part of the language re- different sentence types are created (e.g.,
source folder in which to keep it and how to statements, questions, coordinate or subor-
use it (for details, see Schneider, 1999; dinate sentences), and how to use correct
Ganschow et al., 1995). punctuation. These manipulatives may be
laminated color- or shape-coded cards, large
Cross-Linguistic Questions for Lego blocks, or Cuisenaire rods. For exam-
Vocabulary Practice ple, when students are learning the sentence
The following sample questions assist ELL structure of basic statements that follow the
instructors and students in understanding sentence structure subject-predicate-object,
and remediating difficulties with vocabulary the instructor first says the sentence and
in L2 (English): Which of the vocabulary places specific manipulatives for each part
composition patterns of English does the on the table, overhead, or under the Elmo
ELL’s native language use (e.g., compounds, projector and speaks the sentence slowly. For
prefix-root-suffix patterns)? Which of the the sentence My mother knits socks, the in-
English vocabulary patterns are entirely for- structor shows a green card when saying the
eign to the ELL? Which vocabulary patterns subject (My mother), adds a red card when
seem the same but are slightly different? How saying the predicate (knits), and last adds a
do idiomatic expressions and verb phrases gray card for the direct object (socks). The
differ from one language to the other? For instructor repeats this procedure for the same
instance, native speakers of German may sentence structure with other vocabulary
refer to ‘‘ants in their stomachs’’ when they familiar to the students. Then, the instructor
are nervous rather than ‘‘butterflies.’’ adds the written component to this demon-
stration by writing the sentence parts on the
designated color-coded cards.
Grammar: Making Sense of Sentence To illustrate punctuation conventions
Construction for English, the instructor has separate cards
Research shows that explicit grammar in- to show where and when punctuation marks
struction improves L2 language performance are necessary. During such demonstration
of at-risk learners over time (e.g., Hinkel & procedures, the instructor explicitly provides
Fotos, 2002). In line with this research, the reasons for the rule application and other
following suggestions for MSL grammar mnemonic devices to help students remem-
instruction help improve students’ oral and ber why and how sentences are composed.
written use of correct grammar. Carefully Students are asked to engage in choral repe-
sequenced learning steps and opportunities titions and think-alouds so that the
to interact with students individually allow instructor can assess which results need ad-
the instructor to document an individual ditional instruction before the practice phase.
student’s needs and progress over time (for
details, see Schneider, 1999). An essential
feature of instruction is individual or group Phase 2: Guided Grammar Practice
think-aloud practice to enhance ELLs’ un- In this phase, the instructor guides students
derstanding of the grammatical mechanisms through a variety of activities that develop
of English (Edwards-Santoro, Chard, How- at-risk students’ confidence in self-correction
ard, & Baker, 2008; Torres-Pasewark, 2001). procedures. These activities can be com-
pleted with the color-coded manipulatives.
Phase 1: Explicit Demonstration of There are two stages of activities. At the
English Grammar initial stage, the color-card practice, students
With color and shape manipulatives, the practice the new language concept in small
instructor demonstrates explicitly how and groups using the color-coded procedures
why words require specific grammatical previously modeled by the instructor. They
66 Spring 2009

may record their sentences on paper so that comments to enhance positive cross-
the instructor can check for grammatical ap- linguistic transfer. After a sheet is com-
propriateness. At the second stage, the white pleted, the instructor demonstrates the part
card practice, students demonstrate their of the language resource folder in which to
understanding of the new language concept keep it and how to use it.
without the color-coded manipulatives using
white cards or sentence strips showing black, Cross-Linguistic Questions for
not color-coded, writing. (For commercially Grammar Practice
available MSL grammar instruction materi- The following sample questions assist ELL
als, see Carraker, 2004; Menken, 2006.) instructors and students in understanding
and remediating difficulties with grammar:
Phase 3: Free Grammar Practice Which of the English ways of forming
in Context statements, questions, or exclamations occur
Students can practice newly learned sen- in the ELL’s first language, which are com-
tence patterns by creating their own poetry pletely different? Which of the English ways
(e.g., acronym poems, structured poems) are only slightly different? Where do certain
or a class poem to which each student parts of speech occur in a sentence? For in-
contributes a sentence. This activity dem- stance, in French and Hebrew, adjectives are
onstrates the importance of the grammar placed after the noun, not in front of the noun
pattern in context to students. Students can as is customary in English. How do tenses
also practice integrating familiar sentence (e.g., present, past, or future) differ in English
patterns into cohesive text sections by compared to the ELL’s native language?
writing short paragraphs. Students’ written
work can be enriched by illustrations. They
can practice writing nonfiction and fiction
MSL strategies use direct and explicit in-
using an explicit multisensory program that
struction and have been found to be
uses color-coding techniques called Step up
beneficial for at-risk L1 and L2 learners (e.g.,
to Writing (for details, see Auman, 2002;
see August & Shanahan, 2006, 2007; Na-
Auman, Karas, Sage, & Tyler, 2003).
tional Reading Panel, 2000). In this article,
we have focused on the application of these
Phase 4: Summary of New Grammar strategies to teaching struggling ELL learners
Information within a cross-linguistic context in the areas
Under the guidance of the instructor, stu- of pronunciation, spelling, reading, vocabu-
dents summarize their new grammatical lary, and grammar. The strategies provide an
knowledge on a basic summary sheet that essential supplement for language educators
(1) identifies the concept in meaning- who for the most part have been trained to
ful ways (e.g., asking a question about use ‘‘whole language’’ or ‘‘natural approach’’
something the student experiences, vs. strategies in their language instruction. While
has experienced, vs. will experience), (2) non-at-risk students may be able to succeed
represents the color-coding of where the without explicit and direct instruction in
‘‘job parts’’ of a sentence go, (3) shares language skills, success for at-risk language
personally meaningful sentences that assist learners may depend on instructors using
the student in remembering patterns, (4) explicit MSL instruction in the new language
lists information to remember the pattern, (e.g., Nijakowska, 2008; Sparks, Ganschow,
(5) includes strategies for catching a written Artzer, & Patton, 1997; Sparks et al., 1998).
error, (6) includes comments that make In recent years, L1 reading research has
clear how people speak vs. how they write shown that students who are taught the
(dialect, colloquialisms, e.g., gonna for structure of language explicitly become
going to or comin’ for coming), and (7) allows better readers and spellers than those who
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 67

do not acquire this knowledge (e.g., see learners: Lessons from the Report of the National
Moats, 2000; Rayner et al., 2001). As a Literacy Panel on language minority children
result of this research, teacher education and youth. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
programs are being called upon not only Auman, M. (2002). Step up to writing repro-
to teach prospective instructors about the ducibles for grade 3-8 teachers. Longmont, CO:
Sopris West.
structure of language but also how to teach
these skills to students (e.g., Walsh, Glaser, Auman, M., Karas, G., Sage, P., & Tyler, C.
(2003). Step up to writing. Primary steps. Re-
& Wilcox, 2006). Teacher preparation producibles for grade K-2 teachers. Longmont,
programs in colleges and universities CO: Sopris West.
and professional development programs in Baumann, J., & Kame’enui, E. (Eds.). (2003).
school districts should consider incorpo- Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice.
rating evidence-based teaching strategies New York: Guilford.
such as those described in this article. Bell, N., & Lindamood, P. (1998a). Vanilla
Though preliminary research supports this Vocabulary. Level 1. A visualized/verbalized
instruction for L2 learners, further research vocabulary book. San Luis Obispo, CA: Gander.
on MSL instruction as it pertains to ELLs is Bell, N., & Lindamood, P. (1998b). Vanilla
warranted. In L1, there is a considerable Vocabulary. Level 2. A visualized/verbalized vo-
body of literature on evidence-based in- cabulary book. San Luis Obispo, CA: Gander.
struction for teaching struggling readers Bell, N., & Lindamood, P. (1998c). Adventures
(e.g., Snowling & Hulme, 2007). Currently, of Gunny and Ivan. Level 1 and Level 2. San Luis
effective teaching methods for struggling L2 Obispo, CA: Gander.
learners have not been discussed in depth in Birsh, J. (2005). Multisensory teaching of basic
L2 research. Given the positive preliminary language skills. Baltimore: Brookes.
research findings on the use of MSL Birsh, J. (2006). What is multisensory struc-
reported in this article, the strategies tured language instruction? Perspectives,
presented here provide an opportunity 32(4), 15–20.
for further research. There is also a need for Bowen, C. (1983). Angling for words. A study
additional research and discussion on the book for language training. Novato, CA:
cross-linguistic challenges of ELLs, partic- Academic Therapy Publications.
ularly in the context of MSL instruction. Carraker, S. (2004). Multisensory grammar and
This research is needed across a variety of written composition. Belleaire, TX: Neuhaus.
native languages, and especially those lan- Carraker, S. (2006). Teaching the structure of
guages that are different from the more language through seeing, hearing and doing.
commonly researched languages. Perspectives, 32(4), 24–28.
Carver, R. P. (1994). Percentage of unknown
vocabulary words in text as function of the
relative difficulty of the text: Implications for
References instruction. Journal of Reading Behavior, 26,
Artiles, A. J., & Ortiz, A. (Eds.) (2002). English
language learners with special education needs: Carver, R. P. (2000). The cause of high and low
Identification, assessment and instruction. Wash- reading achievement. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
ington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Casalis, S., Colé, P., & Sopo, D. (2004). Mor-
Asher, J. (1969). The total physical response phological awareness in developmental
approach to second language learning. Modern dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 54, 114–138.
Language Journal, 53, 3–17.
Chiappe, P., & Siegel, L. (1999). Phonological
August, D., & Shanahan, T. (2006). Developing awareness and reading acquisition in English-
literacy in second language learners: Report of the and Punjabi speaking Canadian children.
National Literacy Panel on language minority Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 20–28.
children and youth. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Conger, M. (2006). Read between the lines.
August, D., & Shanahan, T. (2007). Develop- Learning idioms by themes. Greenville, SC:
ing reading and writing in second language Super Duper.
68 Spring 2009

Cummins, J. (1979). Linguistic interde- Orton Memorial Lecture at the International

pendence and educational development of Dyslexia Association, Dallas, TX.
bilingual children. Review of Educational
Ganschow, L., & Sparks, R. (1995). Effects of
Research, 49, 222–251.
direct instruction in phonology on the native
Cummins, J. (1984). Wanted: A theoretical skills and foreign aptitude of at-risk foreign
framework for relating language proficiency to language learners. Journal of Learning Dis-
academic achievement among bilingual stu- abilities, 28, 107–120.
dents. In C. Rivera (Ed.), Language proficiency
Ganschow, L., & Sparks, R. (2000). Reflec-
and academic achievement (pp. 2–19). Cleve-
tions on foreign language study for students
don, United Kingdom: Multilingual Matters.
with language learning problems, research,
Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power and issues, and challenges. Dyslexia. Interna-
pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. tional Journal of Research and Practice, 6,
Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters. 87–100.
Dufva, M., & Voeten, M. (1999). Native lan- Ganschow, L., & Sparks, R. (2001). Learning
guage literacy and phonological memory as difficulties and foreign language learning: A
prerequisites for learning English as a foreign review of research and instruction. Language
language. Applied Linguistics, 20, 329–348. Teaching, 34, 79–98.
Durgunoglu, A. (2002). Crosslinguistic trans- Ganschow, L., Sparks, R., & Schneider, E.
fer in literacy development and implications (1995). Learning a foreign language: Chal-
for language learners. Annals of Dyslexia, 52, lenges for students with language learning
189–204. difficulties. Dyslexia. International Journal of
the British Dyslexia Association, 1, 75–95.
Durgunoglu, A., Nagy, W., & Hancin-Bhatt, B.
(1993). Cross-language transfer of phonolog- Genesee, F., Lindholm-Leary, K., Saunders, W.
ical awareness. Journal of Educational M., & Christian, D. (2006). Educating English
Psychology, 85, 453–465. language learners: A synthesis of research
evidence. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cam-
Echevarria, J., & Graves, A. (1989). Sheltered bridge University Press.
instruction. Teaching English language learners
with diverse abilities. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Geva, E. (1983). Facilitating reading com-
prehension through flow-charting. Reading
Edwards-Santoro, L., Chard, D., Howard, L., Research Quarterly, 15, 384–405.
& Baker, S. (2008). Making the very most out
of classroom read-alouds to promote compre- Geva, E. (1992). The role of conjunctions in
hension and vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, L2 text comprehension. TESOL Quarterly, 26,
61(5), 396–408. 731–747.
Ehri, L. (1998). Phoneme-grapheme knowl- Geva, E. (2000). Issues in the assessment of
edge is essential for learning to read in reading disabilities in L2 childrenF
English. In J. Metsala & L. Ehri (Eds.), Word Beliefs and research evidence. Dyslexia. Inter-
recognition in beginning literacy (pp. 3–40). national Journal of Research and Practice, 6,
Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. 13–28.
Ehrlich, I. (2000). Instant vocabulary. New Geva, E., & Siegel, L. (2000). Orthographic
York: Penguin Books. and cognitive factors in the concurrent devel-
opment of basic reading skills in two
Fawcett, A., & Lynch, L. (2000). Systematic
languages. Reading and Writing: An Interdisci-
identification and intervention for reading
plinary Journal, 12, 1–30.
difficulty: Case studies of children with EAL.
Dyslexia. International Journal of Research and Geva, E., Yaghoub-Zadeh, Z., & Schuster, B.
Practice, 6, 57–71. (2000). Individual differences in word recog-
nition skills in ESL children. Annals of
Fletcher, J. M., Morris, R., Lyon, R., Stuebing,
Dyslexia, 50, 121–154.
K., Shaywitz, S., Shankweiler, D., Katz, L., &
Shaywitz, B. (1997). Subtypes of dyslexia: An Gottardo, A. (2002). The relationship be-
old problem revisited. In B. A. Blachman tween language and reading skills in bilingual
(Ed.), Foundations of reading acquisition and Spanish-English speakers. Topics in Language
dyslexia (pp. 95–141). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Disorders, 22, 46–70.
Frith, U. (2007). The effect of orthography Graham, C. (1986). Small talk. More jazz
on reading and reading problems. Samuel chants. New York: Oxford University Press.
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 69

Graham, C. (1988). Jazz chant fairy tales. New Goldstein (Ed.), Bilingual language develop-
York: Oxford University Press. ment and disorders in Spanish-English speaking
speakers (pp. 311–338). Baltimore: Brookes.
Graham, C. (1993). Grammar chants. New
York: Oxford University Press. Kucer, S., & Tuten, J. (2003). Revisiting and
rethinking the reading process. Language Arts,
Greene, V., & Enfield., M. (2000a). Project
80(4), 284–290.
Read. Story form comprehension guide. Mid-
land, TX: Language Circle. Levy, B. (2001). Moving the bottom: Improv-
ing reading fluency. In M. Wolf (Ed.),
Greene, V., & Enfield., M. (2000b). Project
Dyslexia, fluency, and the brain (pp. 357–382).
Read. Report form comprehension guides. Mid-
Boston: PRO-ED.
land, TX: Language Circle.
Lindamood, P., & Lindamood, P. (1993). LiPS
Henry, M. (1996). Patterns for success in read-
Classroom Kit. San Luis Obispo, CA: Gander.
ing and spelling: A multisensory approach to
teaching phonics and word analysis. Boston: McCardle., P., & Chhabra, V. (Eds.). (2004).
PRO-ED Publishing. The voice of evidence in reading research. Balti-
more: Brookes.
Henry, M. (2003). Unlocking literacy: Effective
decoding and spelling instruction. Baltimore: McIntyre, C., & Pickering, J. (2003). Clinical
Brookes. studies of multisensory structured language
Henry, M., & Hook, P. (2006). A look at education: For students with dyslexia and related
multisensory structured language instruction. disorders. Salem, OR: IMSLEC.
Perspectives, 32(4) (entire volume). Menken, J. (2006). Hands-on English with
Hinkel, E., & Fotos, S. (Eds.). (2002). New linking blocks. The manipulative, multisensory
perspectives on grammar teaching in second grammar for general literacy, remedial, and
language classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. English as a second language (E.S.L.) programs.
Bloomington, IN: E3 Concepts, LCC.
Hu, M., & Nation, I. (2000). Unknown vocabu-
lary density and reading comprehension. Read- Moats, L. (1994). The missing foundation in
ing in a Foreign Language, 13, 403–430. teacher education. The structure of spoken
and written language. Knowledge of language
Kahn-Horowitz, J., Shimron, J., & Sparks, R. is essential for teaching students with
(2005). Predicting foreign language reading dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 44, 81–102.
achievement in elementary school students.
Reading and Writing, 18, 527–558. Moats, L. (1995). Spelling development,
disability and instruction. Boston: PRO-ED.
Kahn-Horowitz, J., Shimron, J., & Sparks, R.
(2006). Weak and strong novice readers Moats, L. (2000). Speech to print. Language
of English foreign language: Effects of first essentials for teachers. Baltimore: Brookes.
language and socioeconomic status. Annals of National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching
Dyslexia, 56, 167–185. children to read: An evidence-based assessment
Kame’enui, E., Simmons, C., Good, R., & of the scientific research literature on reading
Harn, B. (2001). The use of fluency-based and its implications for reading instruction.
measures in early identification and evalua- Washington, DC: National Institute of Child
tion of intervention efficacy in schools. In M. Health and Human Development.
Wolf (Ed.), Dyslexia, fluency, and the brain Ndlovu, K., & Geva, E. (2008). Writing
(pp. 307–332). Boston: PRO-ED Publishing. abilities in first and second language learn-
Klein, W. (1992). Zweitspracherwerb. Stud- ers with and without reading disabilities.
ienbuch Linguistik. Frankfurt a. M: Attenäum. In J. Kormos & E. Kontra (Eds.), Language
learners with special needs. An international
Koda, K. (2005). Insights into second language perspective (pp. 36–62). Toronto: Multilingual
reading. A cross-linguistic approach. New York: Matters.
Cambridge University Press.
Nijakowska, J. (2008). An experiment with
Koda, K. (2007). Reading and language learn-
direct multisensory instruction in teaching
ing: Cross-linguistic constraints on second
word reading and spelling to Polish dyslexic
language reading development. Language
learners of English. In J. Kormos & E. Kontra
Learning, 57, 1–44.
(Eds.), Language learners with special needs.
Kohnert, K., & Derr, A. (2004). Language An international perspective (pp. 130–157).
interventions with bilingual children. In B. Toronto: Multilingual Matters.
70 Spring 2009

No Child Left Behind Act. (2001). 20 U.S.C. ‰ teaching a foreign language to at-risk students.
6301 e. seq. Frankfurt a. M., Germany: Peter Lang.
Olshtain, E., Shohamy, E., Kemp, J., & Chatow, Schneider, E., & Crombie, M. (2003). Dys-
R. (1990). Factors predicting success in EFL lexia and foreign language learning. Toronto:
among culturally different learners. Language Taylor & Francis.
Learning, 40, 23–44.
Schneider, E., & Ganschow, L. (2000). Dy-
Palincsar, A., & Brown, A. (1984). Reciprocal namic assessment and instructional strategies
teaching of comprehension fostering and for learners who struggle learning a foreign
monitoring activities. Cognition & Instruction, language. Dyslexia, 6, 72–82.
1, 117–175.
Shaywitz, S. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia. New
Paris, S., Wasik, B., & Turner, J. (1991). The York: Alfred Knopf.
development of strategic reading. In R. Barr, M.
Kamil, P. Mosenthal & P. Pearson (Eds.), Hand- Silverberg, R., Bentin, S., Gaziel, T., & Obler,
book of reading research (Vol. 2; pp. 609–640). M. (1979). Shift of visual field preference for
New York: Longman. English words in native Hebrew speakers.
Brain and Language, 8, 184–190.
Patterson, J., & Zurer-Pearson, B. (2004).
Bilingual lexical development: Influences, Silverstein, S. (1974). Where the sidewalk ends.
contexts, and processes. In B. Goldstein (Ed.), New York: Harper Collins.
Bilingual language development and disorders Silverstein, S. (1981). A light in the attic. New
in Spanish-English speaking speakers (pp. York: Harper Collins.
53–76). Baltimore: Brookes.
Silverstein, S. (1996). Falling up. New York:
Pearson, P., & Gallagher, M. (1983). The Harper Collins.
instruction of reading comprehension. Con-
temporary Educational Psychology, 8, 317–344. Snowling, M., & Hulme, C. (2007). The
science of reading. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Pena, E., & Stubbe Kester, E. (2004). Seman-
Sparks, R. (1995). Examining the linguistic
tic development in Spanish-English bilin-
differences hypothesis to explain individual
guals: Theory, assessment and intervention.
differences in foreign language learning.
In B. Goldstein (Ed.), Bilingual language de-
Annals of Dyslexia, 45, 187–214.
velopment and disorders in Spanish-English
speaking speakers (pp. 105–128). Baltimore: Sparks, R., Artzer, M., Patton, J., Ganschow, L.,
Brookes. Miller, K., Hordubay, D., & Walsh, J. (1998).
Benefits of multisensory structured language
Prelutzky, J. (1984). The new kid on the block.
instruction for at-risk foreign language
New York: Greenwillow.
students. Annals of Dyslexia, 50, 239–272.
Prelutzky, J. (1990). Something big has been
Sparks, R., & Ganschow, L. (1993). The effects
here. New York: Greenwillow.
of a multisensory structured language approach
Prelutzky, J. (1996). A pizza the size of the sun. on the native and foreign language aptitude
New York: Greenwillow. skills of high-risk, foreign language learners:
A follow-up study. Annals of Dyslexia, 43,
Rayner, K., Foorman, B., Perfetti, C., Pesetsky, 193–216.
D., & Seidenberg, M. (2001). How psycho-
logical science informs the teaching of Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., Artzer, M., & Patton,
reading. Psychological Science in the Public In- J. (1997). Foreign language proficiency of
terest, 2, 31–74. at-risk and non-at-risk learners over two years
of foreign language instruction. A follow-up
Reiss, J. (2001). ESOL strategies for teach-
study. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 20, 92–98.
ing content. Facilitating instruction for English
language learners. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., Artzer, M., Siebenhar,
Prentice Hall. D., & Plageman, M. (1998). Differences in
native language skills, foreign language
Rome, P., & Osman, J. (2000). Language tool
aptitude, and foreign language grades among
kit. Boston: Educators Publishing.
high, average, and low proficiency learners:
Rome, P., & Osman, J. (2003). Advanced tool Two studies. Language Testing, 15, 181–216.
kit. Boston: Educators Publishing.
Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., Kenneweg, S., &
Schneider, E. (1999). Multisensory structured, Miller, K. (1991). Using Orton Gillingham
metacognitive instruction: An approach to methodologies to teach language to learning
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 71

disabled dyslexic students. Explicit teaching Stanovich, K. (2000). Progress in understand-

of phonology in a second language. Annals of ing reading: Scientific foundations and new
Dyslexia, 41, 96–118. frontiers. New York: Guilford.
Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., & Patton, J. (2008). Swan, M., & Smith, B. (2001). Learner
L1 and L2 literacy, L1 and L2 aptitude, and L2 language: A teacher’s guide to interference and
affective variables as discriminators among other problems. Boston: Cambridge University
high and low-achieving, LD, and ADHD L2 Press.
learners. In J. Kormos & E. Kontra (Eds.),
Torgesen, J., Rashotte, C., & Alexander, A.
Language learners with special needs: An inter-
(2001). Principles of fluency instruction in
national perspective (pp. 11–35). Toronto:
reading: Relationships with established em-
Multilingual Matters.
pirical outcomes. In M. Wolf (Ed.), Dyslexia,
Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., Patton, J., Artzer, M., fluency, and the brain (pp. 333–356). Timo-
Siebenhar, D., & Plageman, M. (1997). Predic- nium, NY: York Press.
tion of foreign language proficiency. Journal of
Torres-Pasewark, S. (2001). Promoting English
Educational Psychology, 89, 549–561.
through English read-alouds. In C. Pappas &
Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., & Pohlman, J. L. Barro Zecker (Eds.), Teacher inquiries in lit-
(1989). Linguistic coding deficits in for- eracy teaching-learning. Learning to collaborate
eign language learners. Annals of Dyslexia, 39, in elementary urban classrooms (pp. 157–174).
179–195. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., Pohlman, J., Artzer, van Gelderen, A., Schoonen, R., Stoel, R.,
M., & Skinner, S. (1992). The effects of a Glopper, K., & Hulstijn, J. (2007). Develop-
multisensory, structured language approach ment of adolescent reading comprehension in
on the native and foreign language aptitude language 1 and language 2: A longitudinal
skills of high-risk foreign language learners. analysis of constituent components. Journal of
Annals of Dyslexia, 42, 25–53. Educational Psychology, 99, 477–491.
Sparks, R., Patton, J., Ganschow, L., & Hum- Vellutino, F. (1991). Introduction to three
bach, N. (in press). Long-term relationships studies on reading acquisition: Convergent
among early L1 skills, L2 aptitude, L2 affect, findings on theoretical foundations of code-
and later L2 proficiency. Applied Psycholin- oriented versus whole language approaches to
guistics. reading instruction. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 83, 437–443.
Sparks, R., Patton, J., Ganschow, L., Hum-
bach, N., & Javorsky, J. (in press). Long-term Walsh, K., Glaser, D., & Wilcox, D. (2006).
transfer of cross-linguistic transfer of skills What education schools aren’t teaching about
from L1 to L2. Language Learning. reading and what elementary teachers aren’t
learning. Washington, DC: National Council
Sparks, R., Patton, J., Ganschow, L., Hum- on Teacher Quality.
bach, N., & Javorsky, J. (2008). Early first-
language reading and spelling skills predict Wang, M., Park, Y., & Lee, K. (2006). Korean-
later second-language reading and spelling English biliteracy acquisition: Cross-language
skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, phonological and orthographic transfer. Jour-
162–174. nal of Educational Psychology, 98, 148–158.
Whelan Ariza, E., Morales-Jones, C., Yaya, N.,
Sparks, R., Schneider, E., & Ganschow, L.
& Zainuddin, H. (2006). Why TESOL? Theo-
(2002). Teaching foreign (second) languages
ries & issues in teaching English to speakers of
to at-risk learners: Research and practice. In J.
other languages in K-12 classrooms (3rd ed.).
A. Hammadou Sullivan (Ed.), Research in
Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
second language learning: Vol. 1. Literacy and
the second language learner (pp. 55–83). Wolf, M. (2007). Proust and the squid. New
Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing. York: Harper Collins.
72 Spring 2009


Example of a Letter-Sound Card for Teaching English as a Second/Foreign


Front of
card Back of card
a Pronunciation options for letter fag:
1. short a-sound as in fbatg, fcatg, or frap.idg, most common because it
frequently occurs in one-syllabic and multisyllabic words; occurs when a
consonant follows the single vowel and thus blocks it from saying its long
sound in the syllable.
2. long a-sound as in fra.vengor fro.ta.tiong, second most common; it mostly
appears in multisyllabic words, is rare in one-syllabic words. It occurs when
single vowel is not followed and blocked by any consonant in its syllable.
Multiple spellings for long/a/in sequence of most to least frequent: a, a-e, ai, ay,
eigh, ei, ey, ea.
3. schwaed sound as in fa.gog or fa.wayg; appears in unaccented syllables of
multisyllabic words. It is highly frequent.
Instructor notes for differences and similarities to other languages (insert):

(adapted from the card deck developed by Rome & Osman, 2000)


Example of a Letter-Sound Card for Teaching German as a Second/Foreign


Front of
card Back of card
a Pronunciation options for letter fag:
1. short a-sound as in fsattgor fLam.peg, most common as it occurs frequently
in one-syllabic and multisyllabic words. It occurs when the single vowel in a
syllable is followed by more than one consonant and thus is blocked from
saying its long sound.
2. long a-sound as in fwa.teng or fFra.geg, second most common; it mostly
appears in multisyllabic words, and sometimes in one-syllabic words. It occurs
when the single vowel in the syllable is followed by no or no more than one
Multiple spellings for long /a/ in sequence of most to least frequent:
a, ah, aa.
Instructor notes for differences and similarities to other languages (insert):

(adapted from Schneider, 1999)

Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 73


Example of a Letter-Sound Card for Prefixes, Roots, or Suffixes

of card Back of card
pre- Pronunciation options for prefix fpre-g:
1. Regular phonetic pronunciation
Letter e is pronounced long. Most common pronunciation.
Examples are: pre.heat, pre.order, pre.teach, pre.occupied
2. Non-phonetic pronunciation:
Letter e is pronounced either short or schwaed. These are less common
Examples for short e pronunciation are: preference, preface.
Examples for schwaed e pronunciation because the following syllable carries the
accent: pre.pare, pre.dict, pre.fer.
Meaning: before in time or space
Gesture to reinforce meaning: forward pointing hand
Notes: Dialectal differences may allow different pronunciations in different regions.
Confusing words with same print but different pronunciation: present (a topic) vs.
present (gift for a person).

(adapted from Henry, 1996, and Rome & Osman, 2003)


Example of a Riddle to Read and Complete That Contains the Spelling

Pattern -dge
What am I?
I can be made of wood.
I can be made of metal or concrete.
I cannot be made of fudge.
But I can have sharp edges.
I can help cars like a Dodge cross from one side of the river to another.
I can help cars and trucks get from one side of a valley to another so they can reach a vacation
I stand on long legs and often have a railing to either side of me so that people or cars do not
fall into the valley or river.
I am a ___
(students fill in the word that must contain -dge)
Word detective summary:
I found ___ words with -dge in this text (fill in a number)
The words I found are:
The pattern -dge occurs in words
___ at the beginning of a syllable
___ in the middle of a syllable
___ at the end of a syllable
74 Spring 2009


Sample Summary Sheet for a Letter-Sound Pattern: Example oa Completed by a

Native Speaker of German
Letter Pattern: oa
Examples (key words, key phrases): boat, coat, load (a car), soap
Illustration of key word(s):

boat coat soap

How to pronounce oa: compared to German: slide a German long o and long u together into one
Association with L1 (here German): slide a German long o and long u together into one sound
Ways to remember pronunciation and spelling:
1. OA sits in the middle of a word for the long o sound; draw a boat with -oa- (hyphens indicate that
there are letters in front and after oa) in the bottom part of the boat or draw a piece of soap with
2. This spelling is different from the long o sound at the end of a word/syllable: at the end of a
syllable, it is spelled mostly: -ow (blow, grow, slow, mow, show)


Checklist for essential letter-sound patterns of English

Letter-sound relationships of English
Mark in one color what student knows before letter-sound instruction. Mark in another color
what you have taught the student.
Consonants Consonant Digraphs Vowel-r

b 5 /b/ bat wh 5 /hw/ whale ar 5 /ar/ park

c 5 /k/ cat /s/ city ph 5 /f/ photo ar 5 /er/ solar
d 5 /d/ dip sh 5 /sh/ ship er 5 /er/ term
f 5 /f/ fin th 5 /th/ thin ir 5 /er/ bird
g 5 /g/ gift /j/ gem th 5 /th/ mother or 5 /or/ corn
Foreign Language Annals  vol. 42, No. 1 75

APPENDIX F (Continued)
h 5 /h/ hand ch 5 /ch/ chin /k/ school /sh/ -or 5 /er/ tractor
j 5 /j/ jacket ur 5 /er/ turn
k 5 /k/ kite
l 5 /l/ long Vowel Teams Patterns
m 5 /m/ mill ai 5 /a/ main -alk 5 /ôk/ talk
n 5 /n/ not au 5 /au/ autumn -all 5 /ôl/ call
p 5 /p/ pop aw 5 /au/ jaw -alt 5 /ôlt/ halt
qu 5 /kw/ queen ay 5 /a/ day -ild 5 /ı̄ld/ child
r 5 /r/ rip ea 5 /ē/ eat /ĕ/ bread /a/ break -ind 5 /ı̄nd/ kind
s 5 /s/ sit /z/ nose ee 5 /ē/ bee -ōld 5 /ōld/ cold
t 5 /t/ tap ei 5 /ē/ receive /a/ reign -oll 5 /ōll/ poll
v 5 /v/van eigh 5 /a/ weight -olt 5 /ōlt/ bolt
ew 5 /oo/ new /ū/ few -all 5 /äl/ tall
w 5 /w/ wet eu 5 /ōō/ neutral /ū/ Europe -ost 5 /ōst/ post
x 5 /ks/ fox ey 5 /ē/ money /a/ obey wa- 5 /wä/ water
y 5 /y/ yes ie 5 /ı̄/ pie /ē/ believe
z 5 /z/ zebra igh 5 /ı̄/ night Silent Letter
oa 5 /ō/ boat kn- 5 /n/ knee
Vowels oe 5 /ō/ toe wr- 5 /r/ wrong
a 5 /ǎ/ station /a/ apple / / oi 5 /oi/ coin gn- 5 /n/ gnat
e 5 /ě/ pet /ē/ repeat / 3 / oo 5 /ōō/ boo /ǒǒ/ book sc 5 /s/ science
i 5 /ı̆/ it /ı̄/ item/ / cabin ou 5 /ou/ shout -mb /m/ thumb
o 5 /ǒ/ ox /ō/ open / / button ow 5 /ou/ cow /ō/ low
u 5 /ŭ / up /ū/ union / / upon oy 5 /oi/ toy
y 5 /ē/ baby /ı̄/ my /ı̌/ system ue 5 /ū/ cue /ōō/ blue
Short Vowel Signals/ Vowel-Consonant-e Vowel-Consonant-le
-ck 5 /k/ back a-e 5 /a/ cake -ble 5 /bl/ cable
-ng 5 /ng/ sing e-e 5 /ē/ com.plete -gle 5 /gl/ ba.gle
-nk 5 /nk/ bank i-e 5 /ı̄/ lime -dle 5 /dl/ poodle
-tch 5 /ch/ itch o-e 5 /ō/ home -fle 5 /fl/ truffle
-dge 5 /j/ edge u-e 5 /ū/ cute /ōō/ -tle 5 /tl/ settle
-ff, -ll, -ss 5 /f/ cuff /l/ fell /s/ y-e 5 /ı̄/ style -ple 5 /pl/ dimple
-zle 5 /zl/ drizzle
-ed 5 /d/ landed
/d/ pinned
/t/ kicked
-tion 5 /sh n/ na.tion
-ly 5 /lee/ quickly

Note: Each row displays first the spelling, then the /sounds/ and then a key word.
76 Spring 2009


Graphic organizer for text structure format with graphic symbols (adapted from
Greene & Enfield, 2000a, 2000b)

Story Content Illustration


Time: _______

Place: ___________

Characters: + Positive:
- Negative:
? Not Sure:


Rising Action


Story Message: