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This volume reports the findings of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. The formal charge to the panel—a distinguished group of expert researchers in reading, language, bilingualism, research methods, and education—was to identify, assess, and synthesize research on the education of language-minority children and youth with respect to their attainment of literacy. Funding for the project was provided to the Center for Applied Linguistics and SRI International by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and the Office of English Language Acquisition, with additional funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provided through the U.S. Department of Education.
The authors review the state of knowledge on the development of literacy in language-minority children and youth, organized around five specific themes:
*Development of Literacy in Second-Language Learners;
*Cross-linguistic Relationships in Second-Language Learners;
*Sociocultural Contexts and Literacy Development
*Educating Language-Minority Students: Instruction and Professional Development; and
Each part begins with a synthesis chapter that spells out the research questions for the chapters in that part, provides background information, describes the methodology used, summarizes the empirical findings reported, addresses methodological issues, and makes recommendations for future research. The following chapters provide more detail on the individual studies reviewed for specific research questions. The volume includes two opening chapters, “Introduction and Methodology” and “Demographic Overview”; a closing chapter that summarizes the report, identifies cross-cutting themes, and makes recommendations for future research; and a CD-ROM providing a searchable database of research references.
The audiences for this volume include researchers interested in the development of literacy in language-minority children and youth as well as those studying literacy more generally, and those concerned with improving the education of this population of students.
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Diane August, Ph.D., is an independent consultant as well as a senior research scientist at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C. At the Center for Applied Linguistics, she directs a large, federally funded study investigating the development of literacy in English language learners. She is also the Staff Director for the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth. As an educational consultant, Dr. August has worked in the areas of literacy, program improvement, evaluation and testing, and federal and state education policy. She has been a senior program officer at the National Academy of Sciences and Study Director for the Committee on Developing a Research Agenda on the Education of Limited English Proficient and Bilingual Students. Dr. August worked for 10 years as a public school teacher and school administrator in California. Subsequently, she served as Legislative Assistant in the area of education for a United States Congressman from California, worked as a grants officer for the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and served as Director of Education for the Children's Defense Fund. In 1981, she received her doctorate in education from Stanford University, and in 1982, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in psychology, also at Stanford.
Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is Director of the UIC Center for Literacy. Previously, he was Director of Reading for the Chicago Public Schools, serving 437,000 children. His research focuses on the relationship of reading and writing, school improvement, the assessment of reading ability, and family literacy. He has published more than 200 research, articles, chapters, and books on literacy.
"While there are many reasons that it is important, ultimately the value of this report is that it will contribute to an ongoing, national effort.to more fully understand and address the educational needs of language-minority children in an informed, evidence-based, intelligent, and compassionate manner. Our nation is now aware of its own changing demographics. This report, and the products it encourages and contributes to, should help us move beyond awareness to additional action." -- Peggy McCardle "National Institute of Child Health and Human Development"
"This volume is a veritable sequel to August and Hakuta's" Improving Schooling for Language Minority Children." For people in the field like me, this volume is a must read book."
-- Eugene Garcia "Arizona State University"
"This peerless panel conducted an unprecedented and thorough review of the extant research on the development of literacy in second-language learners."
-- John Guthrie "University of Maryland"
"This major federally-funded research synthesis is a comprehensive identification of the important issues in the effective teaching of language minority students. The massive effort sheds light on many key questions. More importantly, through its systematic inquiry, it exposes a large number of important questions that are unaddressed and require research investments. As such, the book is a blueprint for a long-term research agenda."
-- Kenji Hakuta "Founding Dean; University of California, Merced"
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