Why Mei still cannot read and what can be done

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

School populations are becoming more diverse not only in big U.S. cities but also in small, rural towns. However, the teachers serving diverse student populations are not fully prepared (Echevarria et al., 2004; International Reading Association, 2001; Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs, 2003). In order to effectively educate ESL students like Mei and ensure that no child is left behind, both teacher education and professional development programs have an obligation to prepare preservice and inservice classroom teachers and designated ESL teachers with knowledge, skills, and strategies to teach ESL students. ESL teachers have to work with classroom teachers, support staff, and parents to plan, implement, and supervise an adequate program for each ESL student on the basis of the student's educational background, native language ability, age of arrival, and parents' educational and occupational background. School administrators need to ensure that teachers have the time and resources to plan and implement the program and keep the communication channel open to all participants, including the parents and the ESL students themselves. Schools have to be held accountable to plan an appropriate program that is aligned to the state and local academic standards for each and every ESL student, and follow-up intervention plans need to be made if the student is not making adequate progress as determined by a comprehensive battery of developmentally appropriate assessment. Then and only then will Mrs. Smith, the reading specialist depicted at the beginning of the article, know what programs she should design to accommodate each of the five children from eastern European countries. Then and only then will Mr. Ward, the seventh-grade social studies teacher, know how to help the Vietnamese boy to learn in his class. Then and only then will Mrs. Hartford, Mei's school principal, know how to work together with Mei's classroom teacher, ESL teacher, and parents to determine what contributes to Mei's reading development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2004

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