Priorities for Research on English Language Learners

To improve instruction for the large and rapidly growing population of adolescents and adults who will learn English through adult literacy programs and classes in the United States, future research should:

• identify effective instructional practices for different groups of language learners to help teachers and tutors differentiate instructional approaches;

• examine the relationship between first language skills and the development of spoken and written English skills and identify skills and strategies that transfer between the two languages;

• find ways to provide effective language instruction directed toward multiple literacy modes (speaking, reading, writing, visual presentations) and also toward facility with communications technologies;

• identify ways to integrate classroom instruction with informal learning opportunities provided by day-to-day interactions and through the use of technology. Stronger links to informal learning would encourage the extended practice required to develop fluency in reading and writing; and

• develop and evaluate approaches to instruction that explicitly develop language and literacy skills in the context of academic and career education.

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