This webinar—held Nov. 10, 2014, as a follow-up to a July conference—examines evidence-based strategies and recommendations for effective English language academic instruction.

Teachers, preservice teachers, academic coaches, principals, administrators, para-educators, professional development providers, researchers and university faculty

Jackie Burniske
Dissemination Director
REL Southwest, SEDL

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REL Southwest Staff

Powerpoint | Transcript

Overview of Recommendations 1–4
Dr. Michael Kieffer

Powerpoint | Transcript

Focus on Academic Vocabulary
Dr. Joseph Dimino, Joan Morris

Powerpoint | Transcript

Question-and-Answer Session
Facilitators and Presenters


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View the archived resources for the related July 22 conference.


Engage with nationally recognized researchers and practitioners in this interactive webinar on effective strategies for improving English language academic instruction. The focus is on the recommendations in the new What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School.

Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School
  • Recommendation 1: Teach a set of academic vocabulary words intensively across several days using a variety of instructional activities
  • Recommendation 2: Integrate oral and written English language instruction into content-area teaching
  • Recommendation 3: Provide regular, structured opportunities to develop written language skills
  • Recommendation 4: Provide small-group instructional intervention to students struggling in areas of literacy and English language development


Michael J. Kieffer

Michael J. Kieffer, Ed.D.
Practice Guide Panel Member
Associate Professor
New York University, NY

Michael J. Kieffer, Ed.D., who served as a panel member for the English Learners practice guide, is an associate professor of literacy education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Kieffer studies the language and literacy development of students from linguistically diverse backgrounds and conducts research that aims to inform instruction and policy to improve the reading outcomes of students in urban schools, especially adolescent English learners. His award-winning research includes longitudinal studies of the reading and language development of English learners, experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations of academic vocabulary instruction, and secondary analyses of large longitudinal datasets. His current research interests include metalinguistic skills involved in vocabulary learning, sources of reading comprehension difficulties, and the role of attention in second-language reading. Dr. Kieffer received his doctorate in education from Harvard in 2009.

Joseph Dimino

Joseph Dimino, Ph.D.
Practice Guide Research Staff
Deputy Executive Director
Instructional Research Group, Los Alamitos, CA

Joseph Dimino, Ph.D., who served as a researcher for the English Learners practice guide, is deputy executive director of Instructional Research Group. Dr. Dimino consults and provides professional development (PD) to educators in early reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and behavior management. He has also developed and conducted PD for research studies, including a study assessing the impact of a reading program on English learners’ comprehension and vocabulary skills. Dr. Dimino has assisted with other practice guides as well, serving as a panel member for practice guides on foundational reading skills and response to intervention (RTI) in reading and as a researcher for an RTI mathematics practice guide. He has co-authored several books, been published in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at numerous conferences. Dr. Dimino holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Oregon.

Joan Morris

Joan Morris
Practice Guide Panel Member
Teacher Specialist, Retired
Pasadena Unified School District, Pasadena, CA

Joan Morris, who served as a panel member for the English Learners practice guide, is a retired teacher specialist from the Pasadena Unified School District. Ms. Morris worked with English learners in bilingual classrooms (Spanish/English), a Structured English Immersion Classroom, and a mainstream classroom. During her career, she also worked as a language development resource teacher and was responsible for overseeing English learner programs at an elementary school. In addition, Ms. Morris worked for 10 years at the district office as a language development specialist, as a teacher on special assignment, and as the coordinator of English Learner Programs. Ms. Morris has a master’s degree in English literature from California State University, Los Angeles.