Nancy Cloud: Differentiating Learning for Language and Concept Development

The guest speaker for the second workshop of the 12th Annual Language Series was Nancy Cloud, who is a distinguished author of literacy and dual language instruction, as well as a Graduate Professor of Education at Rhode Island College. 
Beginning with thought-provoking questions such as, “What is language?” and “How does it operate in classrooms?”, Dr. Cloud jumped right into a discussion of the differences in receptive and expressive language skills for every language learner.
She presented strategies for selecting texts for ELL’s (English Language Learners) and showed purposeful ways to have one’s students engage in literacy in a substantial matter. Having the workshop participants break out into groups of two or three, the exchanging of one’s experiences, ideas, and insights were just as fruitful as the lecture itself.
After reviewing and reporting on appropriate texts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced reading levels, everyone was given an example text taken from a National Geographic Theme Set called Extreme Weather, to examine and assess according to the posed questions: “What literacy level could handle your book? Are there enough text features and visuals to help the learner understand the main concepts? How can you use this knowledge when selecting other texts?”
Understanding how to support the needs of second language learners through well-selected texts comes with being able to assess the students’ reading level. This is where leveled texts like “benchmark books” come in handy. By taking running records and miscue analyses, measuring fluency, as well as taking individual evaluations using these books, teachers can

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