The Science of Reading & Multilingual Learners: Effective Early Literacy Instructional Materials for MLLs

November 29, 2023
Feb. 6, March 5, April 9, & May 7, 2024

Educators understand the crucial role that literacy plays in academic success; those students who are proficient in reading by the end of third grade are more likely to achieve higher educational outcomes, setting them up to thrive in adulthood. Research has revealed a great deal about how students learn to read, but the science of reading is not always reflected in literacy materials and subsequently in classroom practice. This is especially true for multilingual learners (MLLs) who have great potential but are experiencing a profound literacy opportunity gap[1].

Join us for a Science of Reading & Multilingual Learners webinar series to learn from top researchers, practitioners, and state and local leaders on what they see as the components of a quality literacy curriculum for MLL success. This series will deepen knowledge on design of literacy materials that not only reflect the science of reading, but also center MLLs and meet the needs of the diversity of students in U.S. classrooms.

This series aims to:

  • Provide thought leadership from state and local education agency (SEA/LEA) leaders on gaps and strengths they see in literacy materials as it relates to the science of reading and MLLs.
  • Share insights from SEA/LEA leaders about their experiences with literacy materials’ adoption and implementation.
  • Provide research-based thought leadership from MLL literacy scholars and researchers on effective literacy materials that are responsive to MLLs.

Target audiences:

  • Content developers developing core literacy materials in PK-3
  • Education leaders (state or districts) who want to effectively advocate for English learners/MLLs in relation to literacy instructional materials, and
  • Anyone interested in improving literacy in PK-3 for MLLs.

Series description:

Session 1 - February 6, 2024, 12:30 pm-2pm PST / 3:30pm-5pm EST: Features state and local educational leaders who have led strong literacy adoption and implementation efforts and will inform us about strengths and gaps in foundational literacy materials, instructional guidance needs for teachers,procurement issues, and criteria for adoptions specific to English learners/MLLs.

The panelists are:

  • Angélica Infante-Green, Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Farah Assiraj | فراح السراج  |,CEO and Founder for cairEDucation Consulting; Chief of Teaching and Learning for the Council of the Great City Schools
  • Altagracia Delgado, Executive Director of Multilingual Services for Aldine Independent School District in Houston, TX
  • Cathy Pressnell, Literacy Coordinator for Grades3-6 with Murfreesboro City Schools in Murfreesboro, TN
  • Diana Fedderman, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning School District of Palm Beach County

Session 2 - March 5, 2024, 10 am-11:30am PST / 1pm-2:30 pm EST: Features renowned scholars and researchers who will provide a broad overview of the research on essential components of literacy instruction for MLLs and the implications for foundational skills materials.

The panelists are:

  • Meredith Liben, Director/President of Reading Done Right & Liben Education Consulting, LC
  • Rebecca Blum Martinez, Ph.D., Dual Language National Advisor at ELSF; Emerita Professor of Bilingual Education in the Department Language Literacy and Sociocultural Studies at the University of New Mexico
  • Jim Cummins, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
  • Susan Pimentel, Co-founder of StandardsWork, Inc.

Session 3 - April 9, 2024, 10 am-11:30am PST / 1pm-2:30pm EST: Lily Wong Fillmore, esteemed linguist and MLL education scholar, will talk about the importance of a knowledge building curriculum for MLL literacy success and will walk us through an illustrative example of a knowledge building unit while sharing the fundamental components that go into design.

  • Lily Wong Fillmore, Professor Emerita, University of California at Berkeley
  • Debra Hopkins, Senior Manager of Special Projects at ELSF, will introduce Lily Wong Fillmore during the session.

Session 4 - May 7th from 10am-11:30am PT / 1pm-2:30pm EST: The role of writing in literacy development. Given the interconnected nature of knowledge-building, reading, and writing, we will explore effective ways to integrate writing instruction into early literacy materials.

  • Maria Brisk, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Lynch School of Education and Human Development and Human Development, Boston College
  • Luciana de Oliveira, Ph.D., Assoc. Dean For Academic Affairs And Graduate Studies Professor, Department Of Teaching And Learning, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Dr. Ruslana Westerland, Educational Linguistics Consultant, Westerlund Consulting

Session 5 - Tuesday, August 13 at 10am-11:30am PT / 1:00-2:30pm EST. More information to come soon!

Series format:

  • Live webinars. Recordings will be available following the live event.  

Register Now

[1] National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores reflect a 33 point differential in fourth-grade reading proficiency in comparison to non-English Learners

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