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Closing the Achievement Gap

How to Reach Limited-Formal-Schooling and Long-Term English Learners

By Yvonne S Freeman, David E Freeman, Sandra Mercuri

How can teachers help older students who lack academic content knowledge and English language proficiency catch up with their classmates? Four research-based keys for closing the achievement gap are provided here, along with lessons, routines, and strategies used in effective classrooms.

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Full Description

Struggling older English learners pose a real challenge for educators. Some of these students are new arrivals with limited or interrupted schooling. Others have been in and out of ESL and bilingual programs in this country since kindergarten, but have never succeeded academically. How can teachers help older students who lack academic content knowledge and English language proficiency catch up with their classmates? Yvonne and David Freeman provide four research-based keys for closing the achievement gap.

three teachers have put this theory into practice to reach their older English learners. These teachers organize curriculum around themes, use predictable classroom routines, and scaffold instruction in a variety of ways. The clear examples from their classes will help other teachers implement effective practices for their older English learners.

Closing the Achievement Gap features:

  • the four keys for school success for older English learners
  • clear distinctions among the types of older English learners in our schools with examples of students from each category
  • a thorough discussion of the kinds of language proficiency older English learners need
  • a review of the latest research on effective practices for older English learners
  • detailed descriptions from the classrooms of three teachers, including thematic units they have developed, their daily routines, and the strategies they use to scaffold instruction
  • professional extension activities to help readers apply the information in this book to their own educational settings.

For teachers and teacher educators, program directors, resource personnel, and administrators, this book offers both the research and practice schools need to develop effective programs to educate struggling older English learners.

Additional Resource Information

(click any section below to continue reading)


1. Who Are the Older English Learners?
2. What Do English Learners Need?
3. What Does the Research Say about Effective Practices for Older English Learners?
4. How Do Teachers Develop Academic Language and Content Knowledge through Themes?
5. What Kinds of Routines and Strategies Provide Scaffolds for Older English Learners?
6. Applying the Four Keys for Closing the Gap