Reading Intervention with Spanish-Speaking Students: Maximizing Instructional Effectiveness in English and Spanish (SETR)

Reading Intervention with Spanish-Speaking Students: Maximizing Instructional Effectiveness in English and Spanish (SETR)


Principal Investigators: Scott Baker, Ph.D. (CTL); Doris Baker, Ph.D. (CTL)

Funding Agency Program Goal Award Period Amount
USDE: IES - National Center for Education Research Reading and Writing 3: Efficacy and Replication 4 years (2007-2011) $3,498,216

Research Partner: Pacific Institutes for Research


Purpose: Providing high quality reading instruction to English language learners in the early grades is one of the most challenging and increasingly demanding instructional issues facing schools. Often, schools are turning to the use of comprehensive reading programs to support students, including English language learners who are at-risk for reading failure. However, the use of core reading programs typically requires substantial, and sometimes time-consuming, modifications to support the reading acquisition of English language learners. Little rigorous research has been conducted to evaluate the effect of different instructional approaches for students who are learning English. The purpose of this research is to test the efficacy of an instructional approach designed to increase the early literacy achievement of Spanish-speaking English language learners in transitional bilingual education programs.

Project: The researchers will investigate whether enhancing core reading instruction with Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines improves the immediate and long term Spanish and English literacy achievement of English-language learners in first and second grade. Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines are a set of developed and field-tested teaching templates that provide a framework for delivering explicit instruction in target reading areas and academic language. They are designed to enhance, not replace, core instruction. The Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines program includes "packaged" instructional materials designed to guide teachers in how to enhance instruction and promote student reading achievement in Spanish and English. Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines can be used to enhance any reading program. For the evaluation, the researchers are randomly assigning schools to use the Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines program or to continue their current instructional approach for Spanish-speaking English-language learners.

Products: The expected outcomes of this research include an evaluation of an intervention program for Spanish-speaking English-language learners and published reports.


Structured Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to test the efficacy of an instructional approach designed to increase the early literacy achievement of Spanish-speaking English language learners in transitional bilingual education programs.

Setting: The research will take place in 48 schools total, 24 schools in Texas and 24 schools in Oregon.

Population: The target population consists of Spanish-speaking first and second grade English language learners.

Intervention: The instructional approach being used is called Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines. The Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines are a series of "packaged" teaching templates or lesson cards rather than lesson scripts or detailed lesson plans. The one to two page lesson cards have specific, explicit teaching routines that teachers integrate into existing whole class and small group instruction. The Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines are designed to work across different reading programs, and cohesively link critical reading skills within a reading program. These routines are designed to augment, not replace, core reading instruction, and are designed to focus extensively on the effective delivery of instruction. The explicit teaching routines are designed to help first grade English language learners master foundational Spanish reading skills (e.g., phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency) and develop academic language. The routines are then intended to be used to support the first graders taking what they have learned and apply those same foundational reading skills to learning to read in English during their second grade year. The Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines incorporate explicit transitional instructional routines that teachers can use to help English language learners transfer what they know about reading in their home language (i.e., Spanish) to reading in their second language, English.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use a randomized control design to evaluate the effects of the Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines approach. In Year 1, 24 schools in Texas and 24 schools in Oregon will be matched on key instructional variables, such as core reading curriculum, time on Spanish and English instruction, and initial skill level of participating students. Matched schools will be randomly assigned to the experimental (Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines) or comparison condition. Schools will participate in their assigned condition for the duration of the 4-year project. The researchers will work with schools with transitional bilingual programs (e.g., Spanish instruction in first grade and English instruction in second grade) so that they can optimize the instructional benefits of cross-linguistic relationships in early literacy acquisition and focus on transition from Spanish to English. Schools in the experimental condition will implement the Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines intervention with two cohorts of students. Each cohort will participate in the assigned condition for two consecutive years (i.e., 1st and 2nd grade). The researchers will measure the reading achievement of Cohort 1 students from the end of Year 1 (i.e., at the end of kindergarten before the intervention has begun) through Year 4 (i.e., the end of third grade, one year after the completion of the intervention). Students in Cohort 2 will begin receiving Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines or comparison instruction in first grade in Year 3, and receive the second year of the instruction in Year 4 when they are in second grade. The researchers will measure the reading achievement of Cohort 2 students in kindergarten at the end of Year 2 before beginning the Systematic and Explicit Teaching Routines intervention, through second grade at the end of Year 4.

Control Condition: Comparison schools will use their standard instructional routines with Spanish-speaking English language learners.

Key Measures: Data sources for key outcomes include: classroom observations, teacher surveys, student assessments in Spanish and English - including DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency, Indicadores Dinámicos del Éxito en la Lectura, SAT-10, Aprenda, and Bilingual Verbal Abilities Tests.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will address their hypotheses with mixed-model analysis of covariance and hierarchical linear modeling to account for nesting of students within schools.