ELL Assessment for Linguistic Differences vs. Learning Disabilities
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Home› Languages› Portuguese› Written Language› Comprehension

Reading Comprehension

Understanding of Message Encoded in Written Text  Reading comprehension is a complex cognitive process that is highly influenced by the student’s vocabulary knowledge in both languages (L1+ L2) because vocabulary plays a critical role in the understanding of what has been read. Comprehension is also influenced by the student’s cultural funds of knowledge, which may be very different from what a USA teacher may be familiar with and expect from the students.

L1 – Primary/Native language (e.g.Portuguese,Spanish, Khmer)
L2 – Second language American English

Components Classroom Implications
Main ideas and details

ESL Teacher be aware that

  • ELL/CLD students need to be familiar with the content behind the written text.
  • ELL/CLD students need to have the conceptual skill of synthesizing information, otherwise they may give you a detail instead of the main idea.
  • ELL/CLD students not yet proficient in English will not be able to show that they have this skill already in L1. Native language assessment is required.
Order of events
  • Depending on the specific culture, sequence of events may not follow the linear sequence of English (e.g. time order might be organized according to order of importance). This manifests itself in retellings and in writing and it is developmental.
Cause and effect
  • Take into consideration each child’s different cultural, linguistic, religious and background knowledge. Please ask the student why, when a response may sound odd such as, Why does it rain in this story? Response: Because God sent the rain.
  • Make sure that students understand the following prerequisites for comparing behavior
    • Classification
    • Similarities and differences
    • Analogies

Other Implications

Preparation of teachers in linguistic and cultural factors to better equip ELL students with thinking strategies is essential to the understanding of text comprehension.

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