Rollanda O’Connor, researcher and faculty member fromt he University of California Riverside is providing a very rich perspective on RtI for ELLs with clear guidance for K-3 grade teachers — bridging research and practice at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Denver, CO.
1. Teach patterns in the 100 most common words: th, or, ch, wh, ee, al, ou, er, ar– match this to the 100 most common words
2. Interventions for second grade recommendations: common letter patterns and fixes, fluency (if we can increase 20 words increase we increase comprehension level) for ELLs this is usually slower so fluency is CRITICAL! conversations and justifications — why do you think that…..? type questions
3. evaluate of reading fluency and accuracy is important–
4. Work on common affixes– inflected endings: -ed, -ing, -s, -es
5. In 2nd and 3rd grade work on morphemes– meaningful parts of words– improves decoding, spelling, and reinforces word meanings- ex. “not” — un, dis, in, im (disloyal, unaware, invisible”
6. Work on cognates– for English/Spanish– google for list of cognates ex. adult/adulto, enter/entrar, intelligence/inteligencia– there programs that you can purchase but you can start with a google search for the lists
7. Examine multi-syllable words and refer back to morpheme work
8. Create exit criteria for ELLs that is a bit higher that reported– always ensuring access to RtI
She emphasizes from her research outcomes that there is a cost of waiting to provide Tier 2 supports for ELL and that we will get a significant boost if we start preventive Tier 2 interventions in K and have better outcomes by 3rd grade even above English only students! WOW– we have a lot of promise.
9. In K use pictures in phonemic awareness and stretch blending so that it sounds more like music than chopped up sounds
If we start we have 25% less of students needing later support or being identified for special education if we start in K!
This research suggest we can close the achievement gap by having similar identification rates for ELLs as English only students if we adopt early intervening
Under identification in lower grades, over identification in upper grades– can be prevented!
Professor Claudia Rinaldi is the Chair of the Education Program at Lasell University. Her areas of research are the implementation of the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework in urban settings with English learners, teacher education in bilingual special education, and diversifying the teacher pipeline. Claudia has authored peer-reviewed publications and a book for educators called Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers. She lead and developed a graduate certificate program in Teaching Bilingual Students with Disabilities for general, ESL and special education teachers geared towards applying research-informed practices to the questions and processes of identifying whether it is a language difference or a learning disability. Claudia developed a college mentoring program called Pathways to Teacher Diversity for districts and teacher education programs to partner in identifying and supporting underrepresented high school students interested in teaching careers to successfully access and persist in college. She serves in various boards including the National Center for Learning Disabilities and serves as an expert for Understood.org and the National Center for Intensive Interventions.
Professor Claudia Rinaldi believes that it is critical to prepare teacher leaders who may serve as advocates and allies and who will respond to the belief that all students can learn and succeed beyond barriers like culture, language, disability poverty, and marginalization in our country and globally.