chapter  3
30 Pages

Opening the Doors to Literacy: A Comprehensive Reading and Writing Framework

In schools in the United States, the usual language of instruction is English. And not just plain old everyday English, but academic English. A good grasp of language is a prerequisite for academic learning, so a child’s command of conversational English is a significant measure of his or her school readiness. However, as more and more children come to school with underdeveloped language skills, we’re having to strengthen their language foundations at the same time we introduce them to an academic curriculum. Low levels of language development tend to have dramatic and long-term impacts on learning, as these findings describe:

♦ Language-rich first graders know around 20,000 words, while first graders with low English proficiency know only 5,000 (Moats, 1999).