- 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?
7. How do you teach a classroom of students with varying levels of literacy and reading readiness?
As part of a balanced approach to teaching literacy, effective teachers use a variety of strategies for differentiating instruction. One successful strategy is to vary student grouping, sometimes grouping strong and struggling readers together and at other times grouping together students who are reading at similar levels. In heterogeneous groupings, stronger students support students who are struggling, while in homogeneous groupings, strong students can accelerate and struggling readers can receive extra help and attention from the teacher. Variability in grouping structure allows for differentiated instruction and maximizes all studentsí opportunities to learn to read and write. Other instructional supports include the use of paraprofessionals, cross-age tutors, after-school support, and resource teachers. Specifically, resource teachers such as Title I teachers, Reading teachers, literacy coaches, and others can work with the classroom teacher to provide extra support during reading instruction. It is important that these resource teachers be knowledgeable about the goals and structure of reading instruction in the TWI program (i.e. that native English speakers may be receiving initial literacy instruction solely through their second language, as in the case of many 90/10 programs, or that all students may be receiving simultaneous initial literacy instruction through both program languages, as in the case of many 50/50 programs) so that they can provide appropriate supports. Finally, the use of leveled readers (see Question #10 in the language development section) can be useful when working with a group of students with varying literacy abilities.