School policies for young English learners (ELs) have historically prioritized language acquisition as a means to achieve content area success. But new studies are showing that instruction in math, science, and social studies can help ELs develop critical literacy skills, too.
EDC’s Literacy and Academic Success for English Learners through Science (LASErS) project is applying this content-rich approach in Hartford, Connecticut, a city where 18 percent of students identify as ELs. By using science as a context for language learning, LASErS works to boost the academic success of pre-K through grade 1 ELs in the city.
Through LASErS, EDC’s early learning experts are carrying out the following activities to support literacy and language development for ELs:
- Providing teachers with intensive, face-to-face professional development focused on science and language development
- Supporting instructional coaches with face-to-face and online training
- Engaging families in their children’s early science and literacy learning through classroom explorations, family events held at the Connecticut Science Center and school, and family toolkits to extend science exploration at home
- Increased capacity of approximately 99 teachers to engage ELs and non-ELs in high-quality literacy and science learning
- Increased capacity of nine coaches to support teachers of ELs
- Improved speaking, listening, reading, writing, language, and science skills for 1,980 students—792 ELs and 1,188 non-ELs
- Greater engagement with school and community resources for families