The purpose of this study is to make school administrators aware and familiar with the challenges and obstacles ELL students encounter. With such a growing population of ELL students, teachers are having to become more and more aware of instructional strategies. Teachers are now being held accountable more than ever for their student’s performance and need to make sure every student makes learning gains.
With South Florida’s increasing ELL population teachers are struggling to get these students, whose first language is not English, to speak, read, and write proficiently in English before they take the FCAT or by the end of the year to be able to show learning gains. This case study will take place at Winston Park K-8 School. Winston Park is located in a suburban, middle to lower class multiethnic community in the southwest section of Miami-Dade County. The student population is composed of eighty-six percent Hispanics, nine percent white, one percent black, and four percent other.
Sixty percent of the students are eligible for free and reduced lunch, 46% are ELL, six percent are SWD, and four percent are gifted students. Average daily attendance is 98%. There is a total of 96 instructional staff members. Ninety-one percent of the instructional staff is highly qualified. Twenty-six percent of teachers have received advanced degrees. Parental involvement is high and growing. The student interviewed is an eight-year-old third grade student. Gabriela came from Cuba in March of 2012. Gabriela and her family came from Cuba in search of freedom and a better life.
Gabriela came to the United States with her father and mother. Gabriela states that they lived in a poor neighborhood and struggled to get the little food that they did to put on the table. After school Gabriela would go to work with her mom at a farm to pick fruits, vegetables, and even milk cows. Gabriela has showed great growth in the one year that she has been in the Miami-Dade County Public school system. Although Gabriela has attended Winston Park from the beginning of this school year, this is the second school she’s attended in the district since arriving from Cuba.
Gabriela’s mom informed that she was very unhappy at her previous school but that now Gabriela loved waking up in the morning to attend school. Even though both of her parents work they are very involved in her studies and will stop at nothing to make sure Gabriela gets a good education. Gabriela is not your average recently arrived ELL student. In the short time she has been here, Gabriela has learned to read, write and comprehend English just as well, if not at times better than many of her non-ELL classmates. Gabriela has made Honor Roll every nine-week grading period and was even referred to be tested for the gifted program.
In this case study we will answer how do ELLs, their parents, teachers, and other stakeholder understand ELLs academic experiences in school and how can administrators work be informed by a case study that focuses on ELLs and their experiences in Florida schools. Literature Review In reviewing literature based on paired reading and fluency increase, I found several sources that supported my hypothesis that pairing low (ESOL) and high (Non-ESOL) students during reading is an effective intervention. These findings are particularly significant to those educators who are seeking ways to help students with reading fluency difficulty.
Reading fluency is important for comprehension. When students read efficiently and accurately, then they can comprehend what they read more easily. In primary grades, students learn to read but in upper elementary grades students read to learn. What is fluency? According to the National Reading Panel (2000), fluency is the ability to read text aloud with speed, accuracy, and proper expression (Armbruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2001; Meyer & Felton, 1991; Rasinkski, 2003).
Fluent readers can recognize the majority of the words they read automatically without having to decode individual words; they are ble to dedicate their attention to the ultimate goal of reading: comprehension. Fluency is the bridge between word recognition and reading comprehension (Kuhn & Stahl, 2000; Nathan & Stanovich, 1991; Rasinksi & Padak, 2004). While studies have not determined the ideal number of times necessary to achieve reading fluency, researchers say the more times the better. A typical reader needs to read a passage four times to reach maximum fluency levels (National Reading Panel, 2000). Beginning readers and struggling older readers tend to read slowly, haltingly, and with little or no expression.
Often as a result, text comprehension is affected, confidence levels are low, and they do not enjoy reading. Therefore, fluency is and should be a primary goal of literacy instruction. The oral reading fluency norms for grades 1-5 are: 1st 53-111, 2nd 89-142, 3rd 107-162, 4th 123-180, and 5th 139-194 (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006). While conducting my research, I found different types of reading interventions that can help increase an ESOL student’s fluency: Choral Reading, Duet Reading, Audio-Recorded Books, Echo Reading, and Paired Reading (Hudson et al. , 2005; The Partnership for Reading, 2001).
In choral reading, a group of students read aloud from the same selection. The teacher can read along to set the pace and model targeted skills. Students can improve their fluency skills, including appropriate pausing and expression, by reading along with a group of readers or with a strong reader as a partner (Hudson, 2005). In duet reading, a stronger reader is paired with a less-fluent reader. The stronger reader sets the pace and provides visual tracking by moving his or her finger below each word as it is read in unison. In audio-recorded books, the student reads aloud with an audio-recorded version of a book.
The purpose is to encourage the weaker reader to read along with the tape. In echo reading, the adult reads a short passage and then invites the child to “Say what I say” or “Copy me,” encouraging the child to repeat what the adult has read (Robertson & Davig, 2002). In this way, the adult models fluent reading and then provides the child with an opportunity for immediate practice. In paired reading, children who are struggling with reading fluency are paired up with a more capable reader. In this strategy, the fluent reader and reader take turns reading by lines or pages (Mathes, Fuchs, Fuchs, Henley, & Sanders, 1994).
In evaluating the different types of reading interventions, I found that paired reading is the most commonly used to increase fluency. According to the report of The National Reading Panel (2000), guided repeated oral reading is the most effective procedure for developing reading fluency (Kuhn & Stahl, 2000; Rasinski & Hoffman, 2003). Paired reading was originally developed as a strategy for parents and children reading at home, but it is easily adapted for classroom use in intervention lessons (Morgan & Lyon, 1979; Topping, 1989).
Paired reading requires the reading partners to read aloud. Reading aloud to elementary school students can have many beneficial effects; it improves their language skills, motivates them to read on their own, makes students familiar with books, and expands vocabulary (Saban, 1994). Research indicates that repeated paired reading leads not only to improving in reading the passage but also improvement in decoding, reading rate, expression, and comprehension of passages that the reader has not previously seen (Dowhower, 1994; Kuhn & Stahl, 2000; National Reading Panel, 2000).
Rasinski and Fredericks (1991) reported on a paired reading project launched by the Akron, Ohio Public School System; the results of the project suggest that paired reading also helped improve reading performance but in addition helps improve reading motivation and child bonding. Studies on paired reading showed that students of all ages can make extraordinary reading gains. In one study of paired reading over a period of six to ten weeks, students made a gain of at least six months in reading (Limbrick, McNaughton, & Cameron, 1985).
In another study, students made an average of three months’ gain for every month of paired reading. The less proficient readers were not the only ones who benefited; the student who served as the tutor also made substantial gains in their reading abilities (Topping, 1989). In summation, the characteristics of the paired reading instruction (positive one-to-one collaboration between skilled and less-skilled readers, reader engagement, practice, evidence of progress, and reader expression) support my hypothesis that pairing a low and high student during reading is an effective intervention for fluency increase.
It may promote rapid turnaround in reader proficiency for less-skilled readers. Furthermore this finding is particularly significant to those educators who are seeking ways to help students with reading fluency difficulty. Method Three people participated in this study: Gabriela, an eight-year old student in third grade and an ESOL level one, her mom and the teacher, Mrs. Sanz. Everyone has given full consent and agreed to interview with us and give us information on Gabriela and their culture. Every person interviewed was cooperative and helpful throughout the interview.
The teacher was a crucial part to our interview since she is the one who works directly with Gabriela on a daily basis and can best describes her strengths and weaknesses. During the interview, we asked Mrs. Sanz to please provide us with information and data about Gabriela. We explained to her teacher and mother that all of Gabriela’s information would be kept confidential and that her name would be changed for privacy purposes. Some of the data we collected was from the SAT (Stanford Achievement Test), FAIR (Florida Assessment in Instruction and Reading), and the CELLA (Comprehensive English Language Learning Assessment).
While the teacher pulled out useful pieces of data she gave us a synopses of how Gabriela is in class and how she is getting along with all the other students. Mrs. Sanz feels she’s a bright young girl (probably gifted) with lots of potential. She is self-directive and puts forth maximum effort. Mrs. Sanz also told us Gabriela enjoys helping the other students in class. Mrs. Sanz feels this may be due to the high level of importance her parents have instilled in her regarding school. Sandra, Brenda and Mrs.
Sanz all discussed and analyzed the data and we identified all her strong areas as well as a few minor weak areas. Sandra Ramallo and Brenda Gomez conducted the study. Sandra and Brenda were both present at all interviews and had the opportunity to talk to each interviewee. Since the study was conducted by both Sandra and Brenda the work load was distributed amongst each other. Brenda worked on the introduction, method, findings, and consent forms. Sandra worked on the literature review, discussion, and the transcription of the interview.
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