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March 2, 2021

Content, Language & Literacy Instruction for SIFE To Develop Literacy

Who are SIFE with Developing Literacy?

Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Education (SIFE) face many challenges when they arrive in U.S. secondary schools. They don’t have the academic knowledge and literacy that their peers have acquired through years of consistent education in the home language and they are new to English. SIFE need to make impressive progress in an unfamiliar language just to participate at grade level.

SIFE with Developing Literacy (SDL) are a subset of SIFE. They face an additional hurdle because they’re in middle and high school classes, but read at a third grade level or below in the home language.

What is Bridges to Academic Success?

Bridges to Academic Success is a program that provides educational services to newcomer students who enter schools in the United States with limited academic skills, including low levels of literacy in their home languages. Bridges offers two courses for SDL: Integrated ENL/ELA and Stand-Alone ENL (English as a new language). Both courses are designed in tandem to maximize learning, build independence, and increase access to grade-level academic content knowledge and skills.

Gradual release of responsibility, independent practice, and resources that support learning are highlighted across the two Bridges courses in this four-part video series.

Gradual Release of Responsibility for SIFE with Developing Literacy

VIDEO: Gradual Release of Responsibility for SIFE with Developing Literacy

Gradual Release of Responsibility is a powerful instructional method for SIFE and other ELLs that shows Integrated ENL/ELA in action. It transfers responsibility from the teacher to students so they feel ownership over their learning. In the Integrated class at Newtown High School, SDL are apprenticed into reading and writing as they engage with “stretch” texts above their English reading level that explore universal concepts through essential questions.

Teachers must scaffold to make input accessible, differentiate instruction, and model academic ways of thinking. Teachers also set high expectations because even though SDL face many challenges in school, they can learn and will progress towards their goals.

Walls That Talk

VIDEO: Walls That Talk

Walls That Talk is a strategy video that guides viewers through a Bridges Integrated ENL/ELA classroom. It highlights the various ways the teacher sets up and interacts with the physical space as a print-rich resource to support student learning.

Literacy Centers for Multilingual Students

VIDEO: Literacy Centers for Multilingual Students

This video focuses on the rotating centers design of the Bridges Stand-Alone ENL class at Newtown High School. Here we see how SDL can learn early reading and writing skills while working in leveled English texts at targeted language and literacy centers.

The teacher leads a small group guided reading lesson on inferencing, as the rest of the class rotates through three student-directed centers: independent reading, independent writing, and foundational skills, which includes sight words and phonics. A protocol guides students through the tasks at each center, which integrate oral language and literacy.

A 3-Step Protocol for SIFE

VIDEO: A 3-Step Protocol for SIFE

The final video in the series highlights gradual release of responsibility and student independence through a simple and powerful protocol used in both Bridges Integrated and Stand-Alone classes. Students engage in the three-step protocol (retell, organize ideas into a thinking map, and speak and write) to develop academic thinking, language, and literacy using whole class “stretch” texts in Integrated and leveled texts in Stand-Alone.

As you watch the four videos in this series, think about the following:

  • How can you adapt your lesson structure to meet the needs of ELLs with lower language and literacy proficiency?

  • How can you promote collaboration in your classroom so students can engage in concepts and interact with peers, stretching to use English and academic language? Ask yourself, “Do my walls talk?” And if not, try adapting one approach to using the classroom walls as a resource.

  • How can a centers-based classroom, with small group targeted instruction, accelerate the academic thinking, language, and literacy development of your students?


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