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Bridging the Gap

By Julie Esparza Brown & Sylvia Linan-Thompson

Bridging the Gap Introduction: Reading is a precursor to students’ overall academic achievement and is essential to post-school success, yet longstanding gaps highlight differences in reading outcomes between English-only (EO) students and English learners, identified here as multilingual learners (MLs). The latest data from the National Association of Educational Progress in the United States show MLs performing 32 points below EO peers in fourth grade and 39 points below EO peers in eighth grade when assessed in English. Data for students learning to read in their home language (L1) is not available. Given these gaps, it is essential that reading instruction be tailored to the unique backgrounds of MLs.