June 2009

This newsletter is all about summer reading, including a special booklist tribute to dads.

Type of Newsletter: TELLEGRAM
Date: August, 2009

Dear Subscribers,

Congratulations on completing another school year! We hope the summer brings some time for fun and relaxation after all of your hard work this year.

Over the summer, we will be reviewing the content and features of our monthly newsletter for educators. We'd love to hear your feedback in a short survey. Participants who are interested will be entered in a drawing for a Colorín Colorado care package, which includes a mug, a tote bag, a DVD copy of the PBS program Becoming Bilingual hosted by Rita Moreno, and a selection of five children's books.

The survey will take about five minutes. Thanks for your input, and all the best for a happy and healthy summer!

As always, please keep in touch with questions, concerns or suggestions.

The Colorín Colorado Team

This Month's Highlights

Updated Web Resources Section

We are pleased to present Colorín Colorado's new web resources section! Recommended online resources and websites are organized by categories in areas such as audience and topic. If you don't see a resource listed that has been helpful to you, be sure to let us know!

New Booklist! Reading with Dads

There's nothing like reading a favorite story with Dad or Grandpa! The Reading with Dads booklist celebrates fathers and grandfathers, and the many reasons they are so special. It includes a number of beloved books from different cultures and ethnic traditions that families are sure to enjoy together. This booklist is also available in Spanish.

Resources for Summer

What could be better than spending a long summer afternoon with a good book? Help kids discover the fun of summer reading with Colorín Colorado's Summer Reading Resources. You'll find articles with tried and true tips for getting kids excited about reading, as well as booklists and websites for children and families. For more great ideas, see Get Ready for Summer! and A Beach Bag Full of Summer Reading Resources on our sister websites, Reading Rockets and AdLit.org.

Summer is a great time to catch up on some of the professional reading you may not have had time for during the school year. Check out Colorín Colorado's Best Teaching Practices/Professional Development section, which includes articles by top researchers and practitioners on topics such as: vocabulary instruction for ELLs, closing the achievement gap between ELLs and native English speakers, effective writing instruction, reading fluency, phonemic awareness, and early intervention for reading difficulties. If you'd like to catch up on some resources we highlighted during the year, take a look at the Colorín Colorado T.ELL.E-GRAM newsletter archive and our webcasts!

In addition, see Education Week's 2009 Spotlight on ELL Assessment & Teaching for more articles on a variety of timely topics. Access is free to Education Week subscribers and available in downloadable pdf format for a small fee to non-subscribers.

Back to Top

Research and Reports

Children who do not practice their reading skills during the summer often return to school in the fall reading at a lower level than when they left for summer vacation. In Summer Reading Loss, Maryann Mraz and Timothy Rasinski point out that children from low-income families are particularly at risk for summer reading loss, which serves to widen the achievement gap between these children and children from middle-class families. In this article, the authors provide a brief review of existing research on summer reading loss, and they discuss what schools and families can do to combat this problem. For additional information, see also, Bridging the Summer Reading Gap, by Anne McGill-Franzen and Richard Allington.

The Teacher's Guide to Diversity: Building a Knowledge Base* (Trumbull & Pacheco, 2005), published by The Education Alliance at Brown University, offers a wealth of information about multicultural influences on human development, culture, cognition, and language. This two-volume set, which is downloadable as a pdf file, covers such topics as: challenging cultural assumptions about parental involvement in school, supporting students' ethnic and academic identity in school, cultural differences in communication style and language use, and factors that influence second-language acquisition in children. Also included is a separate presenter's manual with activities for each unit in the two volumes, which makes this publication easy to use for workshops and professional development.

* To view this file, you'll need a copy of Acrobat Reader. Most computers already have it installed. If yours does not, you can download it now.

Book Review

What Research Has to Say About Vocabulary Instruction
By S. Jay Samuels and Alan E. Farstrup, Eds.

This reader-friendly text brings together top researchers from the field of reading to present the latest research on effective vocabulary instruction for both English language learners and native English speakers. The book is filled with detailed descriptions of proven strategies for teaching vocabulary, and each chapter includes questions for discussion designed to help teachers improve their own vocabulary instruction. Of particular interest to teachers of English language learners are the chapters on academic vocabulary (Hiebert & Lubliner), teaching vocabulary in a culturally and linguistically diverse society (Scott, Nagy, & Flinspach), and research-based vocabulary instruction for English language learners (Helman).

Samuels, S. J. & Farstrup, A. E. (Eds.). (2008). What Research Has to Say About Vocabulary Instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Purchase book from Amazon.com* >>

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at Amazon.com help support Colorín Colorado.

Back to Top

In the Classroom

Bright Ideas that Work

Summer Reading: English Language Learners at the Library

During the summer, ELLs can benefit from participating in summer reading programs at the library in numerous ways! This month's article offers a number of ideas for helping ELLs make the most of their public library when school is out.

Frequently Asked Questions

As soon as the school year ends, most teachers begin thinking about ways to make their instruction even better next year! Often that includes finding interesting new books and other classroom materials that will enhance their students' learning. If part of your summer planning includes finding new books for your classroom library, you may want to explore the following FAQ:

Find the answers to these and many other Frequently Asked Questions about Teaching ELLs on Colorín Colorado.

Back to Top

Beyond the Classroom

Book of the Month

Guess How Much I Love You
By Sam McBratney

This children's classic is a beautiful story about expressing love and affection. One evening, Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare try to measure how much they love each other: "all the way up to my toes" and "right up to the moon." It's a perfect story for bedtime… and any other time! Also available in Spanish.

ELLs in the News

Here are a few of this month's featured stories about English language learners and their families in the headlines. If you are interested in following ELL stories on a daily or weekly basis, sign up for an RSS feed or weekly email!

English-Learners' Lot Improves With Federal Pressure

Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week discusses the ways that services for English language learners have changed in Salt Lake City since the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights has required the school district to improve services for ELLs. She writes, "Salt Lake City's experience illustrates the array of changes a district may need to undergo to meet federal mandates on educating such students."

Register for free access to three Education Week articles picked by the editors each day. Other articles are available through paid subscription. Registration is not required to view blogs unless readers wish to comment.

Deported With a Diploma

On Aug. 24, a few short weeks after graduating from high school in Harrisonburg, VA, Maria Martinez will be voluntarily deported. She will be the only one in her family to make the exit from America. "My mom is legal, my brothers are legal, my sisters are legal. Everyone is legal but me," said Maria, 19. "I'm alone." Earlier this week, Maria sat down with The Daily News-Record to talk about her life as an illegal immigrant. Maria was in a unique position to talk on the record about her experience because immigration officials already know about her status.

A Lost Boy of Sudan Graduates from Community College, His American Dream

This article from the St. Petersburg Times tells the story of David Ghai, one of Sudan's "lost boys." As a young man, Ghai moved from a burning village to a refugee camp, from war-torn Sudan to the United States, and now, after four years of study, across the graduation stage at Florida's Pasco-Hernando Community College. It was a slow climb for Ghai, who was in his early 20s when he arrived in 2003 with the second wave of Sudanese Lost Boys brought to the Tampa Bay area by the humanitarian aid group World Relief.

Opinion: A Recession Is No Excuse to Slash Support for Our Libraries

In this column from the New York Daily News, Sila M. Calderón, the former governor of Puerto Rico and a trustee of the New York Public Library, writes, "Governing and public service are a balancing act, and there are no pain-free ways to save millions of dollars in taxpayer money in this terrible economy. But the libraries don't just serve one interest. They serve everybody — bringing the world to the wealthy, to the middle class, and crucially, to the disadvantaged and underserviced communities."

Back to Top

About the Colorín Colorado T·ELL·E-GRAM and ColorinColorado.org

The ¡Colorín Colorado T·ELL·E-GRAM is a free monthly electronic newsletter from ColorinColorado.org, created and sustained thanks to support from the American Federation of Teachers.

If you received this message from a friend, you too can subscribe to the Colorín Colorado T·ELL·E-GRAM.

Want to share this information with someone else? Tell a friend about the ¡Colorín Colorado T·ELL·E-GRAM.

We've made a few changes to ColorinColorado.org and this newsletter. What do you think? Do you have comments, questions, suggestions, or contributions? Contact us and let us know.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Back to Top