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ERIC Number: ED553370
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISBN: 0-8058-6078-9
Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. Executive Summary
August, Diane, Ed.; Shanahan, Timothy, Ed.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Teaching language-minority students to read and write well in English is an urgent challenge in the nation's K-12 schools. Literacy in English is essential to achievement in every academic subject-and to educational and economic opportunities beyond schooling. Compounding this challenge are increasing numbers and diversity of language-minority students. Language-minority students who cannot read and write proficiently in English cannot participate fully in American schools, workplaces, or society. They face limited job opportunities and earning power. Nor are the consequences of low literacy attainment in English limited to individual impoverishment. U.S. economic competitiveness depends on workforce quality. Inadequate reading and writing proficiency in English relegates rapidly increasing language-minority populations to the sidelines, limiting the nation's potential for economic competitiveness, innovation, productivity growth, and quality of life. The importance of this challenge led the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences to create the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. The formal charge to the panel was to identify, assess, and synthesize research on the education of language-minority children and youth with regard to literacy attainment and to produce a comprehensive report on this literature. "Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners" is the culmination of a 4-year process that began in the spring of 2002, when the Institute of Education Sciences staff selected a panel of 13 experts in second-language development, cognitive development, curriculum and instruction, assessment, and methodology to review the quantitative and qualitative research on the development of literacy in language-minority students. This national panel identified five research topics to investigate: (1) Development of literacy; (2) Cross-linguistic relationships; (3) Sociocultural contexts and literacy development; (4) Instruction and professional development; and (5) Student assessment. The National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth systematically and rigorously examined the research on acquiring literacy in a second language. Through this process, the panel learned what is known--and what is not yet known--about the complex process of learning to read and write in a second language. Policymakers and educators can use the panel's findings to benchmark their own practices and infuse research-based instruction into literacy programs for language-minority students. Researchers can enrich this knowledge base by focusing on the specific gaps in our knowledge, which in the future will enable U.S. schools to better educate English-language learners in English literacy. The contents of the entire volume, "Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth," from which this Executive Summary is adapted, are provided.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 10 Industrial Avenue, Mahwah, NJ 07430. Tel: 800-926-6579; Fax: 201-760-3735; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC.
IES Cited: ED529762