We hope the annotated readings on these pages are helpful in building background knowledge, offering a fresh perspective on a familiar topic, or launching productive team conversations.


On this page you will find articles by E.L. Achieve’s co-founder, Susana Dutro. 

Dutro, S., Núñez, R. M., and Helman, L. (2016). Explicit Language Instruction: A Key to Academic Success for English Learners. Chapter 3 in Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy Development with English Learners, Second Edition: Research-Based Instruction in Grades K-6. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

This chapter provides information about the need for explicit language support and identifies a process for designing effective instruction to ensure that English learners gain the foundational and academic language they will need to succeed in school. The authors outline foundational concepts in language development theory and unpack the linguistic challenges faced by ELs. They propose a blueprint for serving ELs to ensure that they receive explicit language instruction throughout the day, and present a research-based vision of such instruction that addresses three critical strands: cognitive tasks, target language, and instruction and application. The chapter includes examples of how to plan and deliver explicit language instruction for Constructing Meaning (integrated ELD) in reading and Systematic (designated) ELD.

At the request of the publishing company, this PDF file is password protected. Please email info@elachieve.org to request the password to open the file. Thank you.

Dutro, S., Levy, E., and Moore, D. (2011). Equipping Adolescent English Learners for Academic Achievement. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Volume 19, Number 4. December 2011/January 2012 International Reading Association.

Dutro and Levy discuss a research-based approach for meeting the academic language needs of adolescent English learners. They recommend making visible the otherwise invisible language of academic content. They address the role oral language plays in developing academic skills and the importance of opportunities to orally process new learning and develop new ways to express understanding.

Dutro, S. and Kinsella, K. (2010). English Language Development: Issues and Implementation at Grades 6–12. Chapter 3 in Improving Education for English Learners: Research-Based Approaches. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

Dutro and Kinsella offer an approach to rethink English language development (ELD) instruction for adolescent language learners, based on current research and promising practices. They present a model for rigorous standards-aligned ELD instruction, give descriptive examples, and provide practical tools for implementing effective programs at the secondary level. The chapter focuses on explicit teaching of vocabulary and syntactical structures to strengthen students’ oral and written academic English and boost them beyond the intermediate level.

Dutro, S. and Helman, L. (2009, April). Explicit Language Instruction: A Key to Constructing Meaning. Chapter 3 in Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy Development with English Learners: Research-Based Instruction in Grades K-6. New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.

This chapter examines the complexity of language development for English learners and outlines what is needed for elementary school English learners to achieve at high levels in literacy tasks. The authors provide language development theory to help teachers gain insight into their students’ instructional needs, suggestions for structuring the classroom, and powerful instructional routines for teaching and practicing essential language skills. They define and explore an approach to explicit language instruction that encompasses identifying the cognitive task and teaching the language tools (vocabulary and essential grammatical forms) needed to construct and express meaning.

Dutro, S. and Moran, C. (2003). Rethinking English Language Instruction: An Architectural Approach. Chapter 10 in Garcia, G. (Ed.), English Learners: Reaching the Highest Level of English Literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

This chapter lays out an early foundation for rethinking English language instruction that Dutro and E.L. Achieve associates have evolved over the past decade. The authors introduce the metaphor of a blueprint to describe a well-designed approach to English language development (ELD) instruction throughout the day that includes: Systematic ELD, front-loading language for content instruction (now Constructing Meaning: Explicit language for content learning), and maximizing the “teachable moment” (now fully developed into a vision of instruction). The authors describe the instructional theories and design components that are needed for rigorous second language teaching and outline how to conceptualize an ELD program, design instruction, and teach English for academic purposes. 

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