Educational CyberPlayGround

ESL: English as a Second Language

Descriptions for ESL Programs With Evidence of Effectiveness

"Music is Language; Language is Music" ~ Karen Ellis


WINNING THE FUTURE White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

The report, Winning the Future: Improving Education for the Latino Community,projects that Latinos will account for 60 percent of the nation's population growth between 2005 and 2050.

Pandering to the Latino Population using Computer translation services that clearly do not work

English is the language of liberation, word power and access.
Remember: What's Personal is Political

American English, is the language of the first modern anticolonial power, which is now transforming the world, especially via its creation, the Internet. The idea of the internet was born out of the 1960's hippie movement in Berkley, CA a culture who valued civil rights, equality, people power and the expansion of conscienceness.

Descriptions for ESL Programs With Evidence of Effectiveness

Beginning ESL Reading Programs
NONE with Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness

Success for All: Comprehensive school reform model for grades K-8. Emphasizes cooperative learning, phonics, frequent assessment,tutoring, parent involvement. Versions available for English language development, transitional bilingual education, and two-way bilingual.

Small group tutoring using Direct Instruction: Tutoring for struggling students, grades K-3, using Direct Instruction materials (see below).

Limited Evidence of Effectiveness Home and school kindergarten reading intervention in Spanish emphasizing books sent home to be read to children by parents. Contact Claude Goldenberg at

Limited Evidence of Effectiveness
Reading Recovery Referred to the Justice Department 2007
Direct Instruction: Structured, phonetic program in English for grades K-6. One-to-one tutoring program for struggling first graders, available in English or Spanish.

A federal investigator looking into allegations of conflict of interest and mismanagement in a $1 billion-a-year Education Department reading program said Friday he has referred the matter to the Justice Department. Referrals are made by investigators when they encounter evidence of possible federal crimes or other misconduct, which only the Justice Department has authority to pursue.


Upper Elementary Reading Programs

Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness

Tutoring using Read Well. One-to-one tutoring in English for struggling students in grades 2-5 using a structured, phonetic program.

Limited Evidence of Effectiveness

Bilingual Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (BCIRC). Cooperative learning, oracy, reading, and writing program designed to help children in grades 2-5 transition from Spanish to English instruction. Contact Nancy Madden at

Success for All transition. Adaptation of Success for All (see above) to help children in grades 2-5 transition from Spanish to English instruction.

Opportunities Through Language Arts (OLA). Program emphasizing literature study, writing, skill building and independent reading to help children in grades 2-5 transition from Spanish to English instruction. Contact William Saunders at

Vocabulary intervention. Vocabulary teaching program to help Spanish-dominant children in grades 4-5 gain in English vocabulary. Contact Maria Carlo at


Indigenous Folksong Reading Curriculum
Integrate, Literacy Music and Technology into the classroom. Use the technology to collect Children's poety, nursery rhymes, clap pattern chants and songs, playground game songs then have the kids add them to the NCFR database. Use this content in a reading curriculum that will raise students grade level by years in just a few months.

Research Confirms That Motor And Cognitive Skills Are Improved By Hand-Clapping Songs 4/2010

With a Simple Tune, Students Improve In School

ncfrNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FOLKSONG REPOSITORY The Historic Electronic Online Archive of Children's Folksongs. The Public Folklore Project built by the children of the United States.Integrate Literacy, Music, and Technology into the classroom.

You can help create and capture our collective heritage in the nation's online archive called the National Children's Folksong Repository. Empower Children who are the unknown culture makers by recording their Voices and sharing their cultural heritage. Empower the lay public by generating new excitement about their history created by a heightened awareness and interest in the larger community that is retained in the cultural landscape. The NCFR project is net centric, embedded in cyberspaceby breaking the meatspace boundaries of neighborhood.

ESL Resources

How does the Brain Work? By 6 months of age, infants develop a map in the auditory cortex of the phonetic sounds in the native language their mother or caretaker speaks.

Music and Dance Drive Academic Achievement - Tucson, Arizona, elementary schools find success by infusing arts into every discipline. More to this story.

LITERATURE - Online stories and activities.


Can Johnny read yet? What are the statistics?

21st Century Literacy Skills Test - find out what this is and how you need to prepare for it.

English as a Second Language list of mailing Lists that all professionals and interested folks can learn about and join.

General List of Language Mailing Lists for interested people and professionals can join.

Learning a second language -- Is it all in your head?
Think you haven't got the aptitude to learn a foreign language? New research led by Northwestern University neuroscientists suggests that the problem, quite literally, could be in your head. "Our study links brain anatomy to the ability to learn a second language in adulthood," said neuroscientist Patrick Wong, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern and lead author of a study appearing online today (July 25) in Cerebral Cortex.
Based on the size of Heschl's Gyrus (HG), a brain structure that typically accounts for no more than 0.2 percent of entire brain volume, the researchers found they could predict -- even before exposing study participants to an invented language -- which participants would be more successful in learning 18 words in the "pseudo" language

Learning technology teacher development blog for ELT. This blog is designed to aid English language teachers in their use of learning technology and web based materials. 7 new movie tutorials showing how to use various features of the Second Life interface The main focus of these is the voice features and how to use them for pair and group work, but there are also some basic ones about sending and accepting note cards and transferring information and notes from note cards to computer.

Interesting Things for ESL
This web site is for people studying English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). There are quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer assisted language learning activities.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Jim Cummins Welcome to Dr. Cummins' ESL and Second Language Learning - A no-nonsense voice in the world of second-language acquisition, during the past three decades, Cummins, now a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, has touched the life of many an English as a second language teacher, inspiring thousands with a thoroughly grounded iconoclastic approach to the pedagogy of language. Jim Cummins Demolishes NCLBs Ideology and Practice

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab
serving language students around the world. These self-grading JavaScript listening quizzes will help you check your listening comprehension skills in English. At least one new quiz is added each week. Do you have a good idea for a new quiz

ESL Literacy Research

Adult ESL Literacy Databases / Directories The Center for Applied Linguistics provides online access to the following databases and directories.

Center for Applied Linguistics
General Questions on Bilingual Education What is the need for instructional programs that can teach limited-English proficient (LEP) children? Why is bilingual education so important?
Years of linguistic research have shown that it takes five to seven years to master "academic" English, regardless of whether the student is taught through bilingual education or all in English. Academic English, which allows a student to succeed in school, should be distinguished from conversational or "playground" English, which can be learned in a year or two.

Literacy and English as a Second Language



The Internet TESL Journal For Teachers of English as a Second Language
For Teachers of English as a Second LanguageArticles, Research Papers, Lessons Plans, Classroom Handouts, Teaching Ideas & Links


TESOL proposed the following goals for English language learners: “to use English to communicate in social settings, to use English to achieve academically in all content areas, and to use English in socially and culturally appropriate ways.” TESOL developed standards for multiple grade levels to achieve these goals. You can access the standards at In 1997 Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a national association, published a set of English as a second language (ESL) goals and corresponding standards for the effective education of English learners from pre-K through grade 12.


  1. Language is functional.
    Oral and written language are means of communication that involve more than simply learning the elements of grammar and vocabulary. English learners need to be able to use their English in a variety of settings as they move toward English proficiency.
  2. Language varies.
    Language is not monolithic, and its variation depends on numerous factors, such as person, topic, purpose, and situation. Regional, social class, and ethnic differences may also impact language varieties.
  3. Language learning is cultural learning.
    Each language reflects the norms, behaviors, and beliefs of a unique culture. Consequently, the learning of a new language also involves the learning of new norms, behaviors, and beliefs.
  4. Language acquisition is a long-term process.
    Each individual moves through specific developmental stages toward English proficiency. Whereas conversational skills may be learned relatively quickly, acquiring the academic language skills to be successful in school may take five to seven years.
  5. Language acquisition occurs through meaningful use and interaction.
    English learners must have numerous opportunities to use English in different social settings and for different purposes.
  6. Language processes develop interdependently.
    Language learning does not always follow a linear progression. The skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing can develop simultaneously and interdependently.
  7. Native language proficiency contributes to second-language acquisition.
    English learners use proficiency in the native language to help in the acquisition of English. Students who have native language literacy already have the basis for developing English literacy.
  8. Bilingualism is an individual and societal asset.
    Having proficiency in more than one language can lead one to greater educational and economic opportunities as well as social mobility.

A pilot study: the effects of music therapy interventions on middle school students' ESL skills. Kennedy R, Scott A.
The University of Georgia, USA.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of music therapy techniques on the story retelling and speaking skills of English as a Second Language (ESL) middle school students. Thirty-four middle school students of Hispanic heritage, ages 10-12, in high and low-functioning groups participated in the study for 12 weeks. Pretest to posttest data yielded significant differences on the story retelling skills between the experimental and control groups. Chi Square comparisons on English speaking skills also yielded significant results over 3 months of music therapy intervention. A variety of music therapy techniques were used including music and movement, active music listening, group chanting and singing, musical games, rhythmic training, music and sign language, and lyric analysis and rewrite activities as supplemental activities to the ESL goals and objectives. Comparisons of individual subjects' scores indicated that all of the students in the experimental groups scored higher than the control groups on story retelling skills (with the exception of 1 pair of identical scores), regardless of high and low functioning placement. Monthly comparisons of the high and low functioning experimental groups indicated significant improvements in English speaking skills as well.


What did the Foreign Teacher Say?
Unclear on American Campus

"So either the universities in question could not afford rejecting the grad students that failed or would have failed TOEFL, or something is wrong with the language tests themselves." ~annonymous

" I'd say that cheating is rampant on both the GRE and TOEFL in some "foreign" countries. I have no proof other than the near- complete inability to comprehend the English language coupled with GRE verbal scores in the 99th percentile for some students. The native-english speaking students in many research groups get the dubious pleasure of helping correct and clean up manuscripts for publication from their colleagues who are supposedly masters of vocabulary and grammar. I'm not putting this forth as a complaint but as support for the idea that *something* is wrong with the language tests/testing methods themselves. These are good people but some DO lack the necessary oral and written knowledge of the language in which they're instructing. ~ annonymous

The appropriate distinction is whether the student is a native speaker of English.
Since 1991, Pennsylvania has required all students whose native language is not English to pass a language certification test before being allowed to teach undergraduates. Carnegie Mellon applies the requirement to teaching graduates as well. Carnegie Mellon explains the requirement as, "Any student who is not a native speaker of English should be tested regardless of citizenship. US residency or citizenship is no guarantee of English proficiency. A Canadian student who is a native English speaker does not need the test; a French speaking Canadian does." TOEFL, on the other hand, does not have "passing"grades, but rather scores. Each admissions committee can decide for itself how to interpret those scores and what other information to consider.
Experience has showed us that English proficiency that is good enough to succeed in a PhD program does not necessarily assure sufficient proficiency to communicate effectively in a classroom. The Carnegie Mellon test has four possible outcomes that authorize different levels of interaction with students, from "grading only" to "ready to TA (but may need training in teaching skills)". ~ Mary Shaw

80% of everything posted on the Internet is in English but in time will be Chinese.

American English is the language of liberation worldwide.

With this one language, everyone has access to the information, technology, culture, and history of all of world civilization.


Americans have always used their First Amendment rights frame and discuss the issues of liberty vs. security, freedom vs. responsibility, the individual vs. society.

Liberty definded by Americans in 1776

Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

American Government For Free People

Two Constitutions

(1) Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (1781)

(2) Present Constitution (1787). The Preamble to the Constitution of 1787 set out the national purpose of the new United States:

"WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Bill of Rights

They followed that up two years later with ten amendments to the original Constitution to set out the world's first Bill of Rights.

Article I of those Amendments proclaimed:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) and Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE) have produced a training manual for advocates, organizers, community members, parents and youth interested in using human rights as a tool for improving public education in the U.S. The appendix includes training handouts and exercises, a glossary of human rights terms, and excerpts from human rights treaties and declarations recognizing the right to education. To order hard copies email or call 212-253-1710. Available in English and Spanish online in PDF format

What difficulties are unique to Dialect Speakers?


First Nation Languages
Find the interesting facts that explore the First Nation People's Words from Linguists.
(1607). Two modern accounts -- one by Captain John Smith and the other by the Jamestown colony secretary, William Strachey -- preserved some Virginia Algonquian words. Of the more than 15 original Algonquian languages in eastern North America, the two still spoken are Passamaquoddy-Malecite in Maine and Mikmaq in New Brunswick.

SEE CREOLE LITERATURE African-American Vernacular English that is widely spoken in most inner cities you will find an extreme simplification of consonants at the ends of words that goes beyond the pattern of any other dialect. The t in test may be pronounced less than 10% of the time, even at the very end of the sentence where it is heard most clearly in other dialects. In words like old, it is not only the d that is not pronounced, but the l is usually converted to a vowel, so that ol and old may be homonyms. Even single consonants may be deleted at the ends of words. And there are differences in grammer. The 's that signals possession at the end of a sentence (This is my mother's) it is rarely used to relate two nouns (This is my mother cousin house). PDF FILE

Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Quarterly. This issue focuses on the theme of supporting English language learners with primary sources. Previous issues on themes including supporting inquiry learning, promoting critical thinking, and teaching historical thinking using primary sources are also available in both html and pdf versions through the TPS Quarterly archive.

Linguistic Experts Recommended Reading

  1. Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English by John R. Rickford, Russell J. Rickford (Contributor)
    American Book Award 2000 from the Before Columbus Foundation.
  2. Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks : The Story of the Ocracoke Brogue - by Walt Wolfram & Natalie Schilling-Estes
    Click to read a few pages that will explain a time line of how American English came into being. Dialect Awareness Curriculum
    This is a fascinating book, compelling to read even for those who are not students of language and dialect. Ocracoker the speech of the natives of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina which was virtually isolated from mainland influence for years and years is highly distinctive in pronunciation, vocabulary and syntax. Thanks to the authors' work in researching Ocracoker, efforts are being made to preserve this unique language and to celebrate the culture that produced it.
  3. How the Irish Invented Slang by Daniel Cassidy
    The originality and importance of the argument makes this an exciting contribution to both American and Irish Studies. This is a landmark book, at once learned and lively and quite enthralling as to how American English acquired so vibrant a popular vocabulary.
  4. ESL, English as a second language, learning to read, teaching kids to read.
  5. Listen to Writer William Bourroughs leads a class. "Language is a virus from outer space." and "Paranoia is just knowing all the facts." ~ Willam S Burroughs, Jr.