- 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?
8. Are any special supports given to students while they are developing literacy skills in their second language as opposed to their first?
Students who are developing literacy skills or are learning content in a second language should be provided with highly comprehensible environments for learning. Quality TWI instruction incorporates strategies and cooperative groupings designed to promote the acquisition of language, literacy, and content, and to help scaffold student learning in these domains.
Examples of such scaffolds include providing students with texts at a variety of reading levels (see Question #10 in the language development section), using hands-on activities to ensure understanding, reading stories in the second language that are thematically linked to those that have already been read in the first language in order to enable students to transfer their knowledge from their first to their second language, using cognate words (and explicitly pointing out that they are cognates), providing picture clues and other visual aids, and incorporating culturally relevant texts that tell familiar stories. In addition, there are a number of pre-reading strategies that teachers can use to help guide the students through stories before they actually read them. This initial walk-through can be especially helpful to students who are learning to read in a second language without the prior benefit of first language literacy (such as is the case with native English speakers in many 90/10 programs).