Reducing academic inequalities for English language learners: variation in experimental effects of word generation in high-poverty schools

Ha Yeon Kim, Lisa B. Hsin, Catherine E. Snow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Most U.S. classrooms serve students with various linguistic and academic needs. Tier-I universal approaches support English language learners (ELLs) without segregating them into a different track and thereby constraining future learning opportunities. The current study examines whether Word Generation (WG), a Tier-I discussion-based program designed to build academic literacy and linguistic practices, provides differential gains for non-ELL and ELL students in vocabulary, social perspective-taking skills, academic language, and reading comprehension. We found that WG had positive impacts for both non-ELL and ELL students on taught academic vocabulary and social perspective positioning skills. Furthermore, WG had additional positive effects for ELLs in social perspective articulation and academic language in the second year of implementation. These results provide evidence that WG supports those linguistic and sociocognitive skills that precede development of deep reading comprehension for ELLs as well as non-ELLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • ELL
  • Word generation
  • classroom discourse
  • cognitive/academic language proficiency
  • mainstreaming
  • social perspective-taking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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