Guiding Principles for Literacy Instruction for ELLs
The following guiding principles have influenced decision-making in regard to reading instruction for ELLs in DPS. This document is also available as a PDF or Word handout.
English-language learners will develop emergent literacy concepts similar to those documented for native English speakers (Hudelson, 1984, 1986).
When possible, students should receive beginning reading instruction in the primary language (Snow, Burns, and Griffin, 1998). Not only it is easier to read and write a language you already know, but also literacy skills transfer from the primary language to English, as English language proficiency develops (Cummins, 1981; Peregoy, 1989; Tragar and Wong, 1984).
English reading and writing development processes are essentially similar for both English-language learners and native English speakers (Edelsky, 1981a, 1981b; Goodman and Goodman, 1978; Hudelson, 1984; Urzúa, 1987).
Two important differences in reading and writing development are a student’s English-language proficiency and ability to read and write in the primary language (Hudleson, 1987). In other words, English-language proficiency and primary language literacy contribute to the ease with which English learners develop English reading and writing skills.
Research shows that English learners can benefit from English literacy instruction well before they have developed full control of the language orally (Hudelson, 1984, 1986; Goodman, Goodman, and Flores, 1979; Urzúa, 1987). In other words, oral and written English can develop more or less simultaneously, provided that instruction is carefully organized to be meaningful and relevant.
English-language learners should not be involved in phonics instruction that isolates sounds and letters from meaningful use of text (Peregoy and Boyle, 2005).