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ERIC Number: EJ776476
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Pages: 35
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0034-527X
A Cognitive Strategies Approach to Reading and Writing Instruction for English Language Learners in Secondary School
Olson, Carol Booth; Land, Robert
Research in the Teaching of English, v41 n3 p269-303 Feb 2007
This study was conducted by members of a site of the California Writing Project in partnership with a large, urban, low-SES school district where 93% of the students speak English as a second language and 69% are designated Limited English Proficient. Over an eight-year period, a relatively stable group of 55 secondary teachers engaged in ongoing professional development implemented a cognitive strategies approach to reading and writing instruction, making visible for approximately 2000 students per year the thinking tools experienced readers and writers access in the process of meaning construction. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of this approach on the reading and writing abilities of English language learners (ELLs) in all 13 secondary schools in the district. Students receiving cognitive strategies instruction significantly out-gained peers on holistically scored assessments of academic writing for seven consecutive years. Treatment-group students also performed significantly better than control-group students on GPA, standardized tests, and high-stakes writing assessments. Findings reinforce the importance of having high expectations for ELLs; exposing them to a rigorous language arts curriculum;explicitly teaching, modeling and providing guided practice in a variety of strategies to help students read and write about challenging texts; and involving students as partners in a community of learners. What distinguishes the project is its integrity with respect to its fidelity to three core dimensions: Teachers and students were exposed to an extensive set of cognitive strategies and a wide array of curricular approaches to strategy use (comprehensiveness) in a manner designed to cultivate deep knowledge and application of those strategies in reading and writing (density) over an extended period of time (duration). The consistency of positive outcomes on multiple measures strongly points to the efficacy of using this approach with ELLs. Appended are: (1) Great Expectations Writing Prompt; and (2) Student Models. (Contains 1 note, 5 tables, and 6 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Meets Evidence Standards with Reservations