- What are the differences in instructional approach and sequencing in English and Spanish language arts? Does this vary by program model and grade level?
- How much coordination should there be in literacy instruction across the two languages? Does this vary by program model or grade level?
- What literacy skills transfer across English and Spanish and which need to be taught explicitly in each language?
- Are there standards for Spanish language arts? Should they be different for L1 and L2 learners?
- What characteristics are important when choosing basal readers and other curricular materials for Spanish literacy instruction in TWI programs?
- What literacy skills are taught through the content areas and what are taught through language arts lessons?
- How do you teach a classroom of students with varying levels of literacy and reading readiness?
- Are any special supports given to students while they are developing literacy skills in their second language as opposed to their first?
2. How much coordination should there be in literacy instruction across the two languages? Does this vary by program model or grade level?
In TWI programs, it is essential that instruction be designed to encourage the transfer of skills, strategies, and knowledge across languages. This requires a high level of coordination between the two teachers who provide instruction in each language (or a great deal of reflection on the part of any individual teacher who provides instruction through both languages). For example, students should be encouraged to use the same reading strategy or the same graphic organizers in both a subject taught in Spanish and one taught in English. Similarly, teachers of each language can work together to further understanding of cognates and false cognates, contrastive sounds and features of the languages, and thematic vocabulary and concepts. In order to achieve this high level of coordination, it is helpful to have joint planning time on a regularly basis (preferably weekly).
In 90/10 programs in the primary grades, less coordination is required since almost all instruction is provided through Spanish, but even in that situation, it is helpful if the English language development component of the day can reinforce some of the content themes being instructed through Spanish.