Accelerating Academic Literacy: A Cognitive Strategies Approach to Reading and Writing Instruction for Teachers of Secondary English Language Learners

Investigators: Carol Booth Olson (with Robin Scarcella, UCI School of Humanities; Robert Land, University of California, Los Angeles)

Funding: California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC)

This intervention study trained teachers in two school districts in research-based strategies to enhance and accelerate the academic literacy of mainstreamed, at-risk, and English language learning students in Grades 8-12, utilizing the Pathway Project professional development program. The study had several objectives:

  1. To improve the quality of teachers through intensive staff development in the reading/writing intervention.
  2. To enhance students' academic literacy and prepare them to become college bound.
  3. To provide strategies and practice in the analytical reading and writing abilities students need to perform successfully on district and state reading and writing assessments.

A quasi-experimental design was used to examine the effects of the intervention. Students of teachers who participated in the professional development program were compared to students of teachers who did not receive the training. Change in students' reading and writing abilities was measured with annual pre- and post-test writing assessments.