Teaching Struggling Readers Who Are Native Spanish Speakers: What Do We Know? Purpose The purpose of this article is to share what we have learned from a series of 4 scientific studies about preventing reading failure through early intervention with native Spanish-speaking students who are struggling readers. The goal is to provide guidance to practitioners about effective practices for working with native ... Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   July 01, 2007
Teaching Struggling Readers Who Are Native Spanish Speakers: What Do We Know?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Patricia G. Mathes
    Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
  • Sharolyn D. Pollard-Durodola
    Texas A & M University, College Station
  • Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan
    University of Houston, TX
  • Sylvia Linan-Thompson
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Sharon Vaughn
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Patricia G. Mathes, Institute for Reading Research, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750381, Dallas, TX 75275. E-mail: pmathes@smu.edu.
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum   |   July 01, 2007
Teaching Struggling Readers Who Are Native Spanish Speakers: What Do We Know?
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2007, Vol. 38, 260-271. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/027)
History: Received November 14, 2005 , Revised April 26, 2006 , Accepted October 5, 2006
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2007, Vol. 38, 260-271. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/027)
History: Received November 14, 2005; Revised April 26, 2006; Accepted October 5, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

Purpose The purpose of this article is to share what we have learned from a series of 4 scientific studies about preventing reading failure through early intervention with native Spanish-speaking students who are struggling readers. The goal is to provide guidance to practitioners about effective practices for working with native Spanish-speaking children who are struggling to become readers using evidence rather than conjecture and opinion.

Method First, the method and findings are summarized from each of 4 scientific studies (2 English, 2 Spanish) examining supplemental reading intervention that was provided in addition to core reading instruction in first grade. Second, the supplemental interventions are detailed. Next, aspects of instruction that appear to generalize from what we know about preventing reading failure among native English speakers are discussed. Last, the types of adjustments made to this instruction in order to accommodate the needs of English language learners are examined.

Implications Outcomes confirm that native Spanish-speaking children benefited from explicit, systematic instruction that shared many of the same elements that have been proven to be effective with native English speakers. Further, English as a second language teaching techniques (i.e., use of concrete gestures and visual aids, consistent and repeated routines, and use of repeated phrases and consistent language) benefited native Spanish speakers who were struggling to learn to read in English. However, little transfer of knowledge from one language to another was detected.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported in part by Grant P01 HD39521, which was jointly funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development and the Institute of Education Sciences. The attitudes and opinions expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agencies. The authors wish to thank their many collaborators and coworkers as well as the students, parents, teachers, and school and district officials who made this research possible.
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