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IES Grant

Title: BLOOM: Facilitating Language and Literacy Outcomes for English Language Leaners
Center: NCER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Wood, Carla Awardee: Florida State University
Program: Policies, Practices, and Programs to Support English Learners      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/2013-6/30/2016) Award Amount: $1,282,679
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A130460

Purpose: Vocabulary knowledge serves a critical role in reading comprehension and academic achievement, and poses a particular challenge for English language learners (ELLs). Research suggests that the use of bridging to the child's first language for vocabulary definitions of novel English words during reading tasks accelerate English word learning in young ELLs. The primary objective of Bridging for Language Outcomes in the Classroom (BLOOM) was to develop and refine an adaptive tiered vocabulary intervention that can be applied reliably and effectively for Spanish-speaking ELLs in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.

Project Activities: Researchers selected the focal vocabulary words and incorporated them into e-books. The research team iteratively developed BLOOM initially for kindergarteners and first-graders. Researchers used analysis of student performance on embedded questions to create the tiered, adaptive structure as well as to refine the intervention. The most promising e-books were pilot tested in the final year.

Key Outcomes: The main findings of this development and innovation study are:

  • The intervention was feasible for teachers to implement.
  • Results from the pilot test of the intervention showed a positive main effect of BLOOM on expressive labeling and on proximal vocabulary as measured by the PPVT. However, no significant difference on children's expressive definition performance was found.
  • Results suggest that English vocabulary instruction with scaffolding through Spanish explanations, repetitions, and highlighted morphology, is a promising approach to facilitate word learning for young ELs.


  • A fully developed intervention, consisting of 47 e-books or "courses" (25 for Kindergarten, and 22 for First Grade).
  • Findings have been shared through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study took place in low socioeconomic status rural schools in Florida in which Spanish is the home language for 48 percent of students.

Sample: Two hundred eighty kindergarten and first-grade ELLs participated in the development of BLOOM.

Intervention: Bridging English and Spanish vocabulary takes advantage of the interconnectedness of linguistic knowledge by linking the child's knowledge of Spanish to new words in English. BLOOM used a web-based format of instructional delivery to provide high treatment fidelity with access to Spanish bridging for novel English words in a multi-sensory, engaging format. BLOOM was designed as a supplement to other classroom literacy and language instruction and was designed for use in daily, 20-minute sessions. Each of developed e-books contain integrated vocabulary expansions in Spanish, phonological awareness support, and adaptive vocabulary lessons depending on individual's responsiveness to integrated quizzes. The e-books are built on extant publications (e.g., Curious George books, Clifford the Big Red Dog books, Olivia, Corduroy), and can be administered on iPads or touch-screen laptops.

Research Design and Methods: The project began with the selection of words that served as the focus for BLOOM. Novel words were selected from the ONESC database of orthographic neighbor for Spanish children, words from grade-level books in the Imagine-It curriculum, and the Academic Word list. The pool of words was reviewed and rated for difficulty and dialectical concerns. These words and expansions were integrated into e-books, which included audio in Spanish and in English. Each session began by introducing vocabulary and providing explicit definitions and repeated exposure. Student responses to embedded questions were evaluated and, based on student performance; the lesson provided additional scaffolding. These measures, along with teacher feedback and scores on receptive and expressive vocabulary tasks, were used to revise BLOOM. Fidelity of implementation measures were also developed.

The second year of the project used a similar process as that carried out in the first year with the revised e-books, but developed e-books for use by first-graders. Additionally, a sample of kindergarten students continued to receive BLOOM and was compared to a matched group of students who do not receive the intervention to provide initial evidence of effects on student outcomes.

A pilot study for both kindergarten and first-grade ELLs was conducted in the third year of the grant using the components of the e-books that showed the most promise in the first 2 years of the grant. Students were randomly assigned to participate in the intervention or to a business-as-usual condition. Children in the treatment condition received ebooks supplemented with intensive vocabulary instruction three times a week for 20 weeks that included scaffolding through first language explanations, repetitions, checks for understanding, and highlighted morphology. Children in the comparison condition received ebook readings three times a week without embedded language instruction. Classroom teachers took the lead in implementing BLOOM with research assistants monitoring fidelity to allow for feasibility testing. Pre- and post-assessments measuring vocabulary and language in Spanish and English were administered.

Control Condition: The pilot study used random assignment to place students in the treatment or control condition.

Key Measures: Researcher-developed measures of vocabulary knowledge—including receptive probes, picture naming, and expressive definition—were used to refine the intervention. Within the BLOOM/e-book environment, the team used an open-source learning platform to record children's clicks, responsiveness, and accuracy on integrated quizzes of vocabulary, phonological awareness, rapid automated naming, overall reading readiness, oral narrative and sentence repetition in English and Spanish. Additionally, the team administered the Woodcock Johnson Phonological Awareness, Letter ID, and RAN subtests; the Primary Nonverbal Test of Intelligence, and the morpho-syntax subtest of the BESA (Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment).

Data Analytic Strategy: Propensity score matching was used to create a comparison group with similar language abilities to students participating in BLOOM in Year 2. Item analysis using classical test theory was used to identify the relative difficulty of the items. Error analysis was conducted to examine the appropriateness of targeted vocabulary and content of the expansions. Words that continue to be problematic for students were isolated and reviewed for potential contributing factors.

Project Website:

Products and Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Fitton, L., Hoge, R., Petscher, Y., and Wood, C. (2019). Psychometric Evaluation of the Bilingual English–Spanish Assessment Sentence Repetition Task for Clinical Decision Making. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 1–17.

Rodriguez, E., Bustamante, K., Wood, C., and Sunderman, G. (2017). A Comparison of the Grammatical Production of Child Heritage Speakers of Spanish across Language and Grade: Kindergarten and Grade 1. Languages, 2(4), 27.

Wood, C., Bustamante, K., Fitton, L., Brown, D., and Petscher, Y. (2017). Rapid Automated Naming Performance of Young Spanish–English Speaking Children. Languages, 2(13).

Wood, C. Fitton, L., Petscher, Y., Rodriguez, E., Sunderman, G., and Lim, T. (2018). The Effect of Ebook Vocabulary Instruction on Spanish–English Speaking Children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61(8),1945–1969.

Wood, C., Fitton, L., and Rodriguez, E. (2018). Home Literacy of Kindergarten Spanish-English Speaking Children from Low-SES Backgrounds. AERA Open, 4(2).

Wood, C.L., and Gabas, C.M. (2017). Young Spanish–English Speaking Children's Reading Attitudes in Relation to Language Skills. Educational Research, 59(4), 408–425.

Wood, C. and Hoge, R. (2017). Average Change in Sentence Repetition by Spanish–English Speaking Children: Kindergarten to First Grade. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism: 1–16.

Wood, C., Hoge, R., Schatschneider, C., and Castilla-Earls, A. (2018). Predictors of Item Accuracy on the Test De Vocabulario En Imagenes Peabody for Spanish-English Speaking Children in the United States. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1–15.

Wood, C., and Schatschneider, C. (2019). Item Bias: Predictors of Accuracy on Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition Items for Spanish-English–Speaking Children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(5), 1392–1402.

Wood, C., Wofford, M.C., Gabas, C., and Petscher, Y. (2018). English Narrative Language Growth Across the School Year: Young Spanish–English Dual Language Learners. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 40(1), 28–39.

Wood, C., Wofford, C., and Hassinger, A. (2018). Acknowledging Challenges and Embracing Innovative Practices in Response to Cultural Linguistic Diversity in Rural School Settings. SAGE Open: Innovative Teaching and Differentiated Instruction to Cater for Student Diversity, 8(2).

Wood, C., Wofford, M.C., and Schatschneider, C. (2017). Relationship Between Performance on Oral Narrative Retells and Vocabulary Assessments for Spanish–English Speaking Children. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 39(3), 402–414.

Wofford, M.C. and Wood, C. (2018). School-year Grammatical Development in Narrative Retells: Spanish-English Dual Language Learners. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 40(4), 228–238.


Adams, J.L., Lim, T., and Fitzpatrick, M. (2014). e–Books for Language Learning: Production and Best Practices. In Proceedings of the World Conference on E–Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (pp. 12–18). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.