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IES Grant

Title: BLOOM: Facilitating Language and Literacy Outcomes for English Language Leaners
Center: NCER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Jackson, Carla Awardee: Florida State University
Program: English Learners      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/2013-6/30/2016) Award Amount: $1,282,679
Goal: 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) is 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. BLOOM will utilize Spanish bridging and intensified support within adaptive individualized e-book instruction.

Project Activities: Researchers will first select the focal vocabulary words, and then incorporate them into e-books. The research team will develop BLOOM initially for kindergarteners, and then for first-graders. Researchers will use analysis of student performance on embedded questions to create the tiered, adaptive structure as well as for refining the intervention. In the final year, the most promising e-books will be pilot tested.

Products: Products will be a fully developed computer-based intervention to improve vocabulary knowledge of ELLs in kindergarten and first grade. Peer-reviewed publications will also be produced.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take 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 will participate in the development of BLOOM. In the pilot study, 140 ELLs in kindergarten and first-graders will participate.

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. This linkage should facilitate the transfer of conceptual knowledge across the two languages. BLOOM will use 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 will be designed as a supplement to other classroom literacy and language instruction and will be designed for use in daily, 20-minute sessions. BLOOM will offer vocabulary instruction during recorded e-book reading experiences containing preview/review, repeated Spanish expansions, acoustic highlights, and phonemic bootstrapping.

Research Design and Methods: The project will begin with the selection of words that will serve as the focus for BLOOM. Novel words will be 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 will be reviewed and rated for difficulty and dialectical concerns. These words and expansions will be integrated into e-books, which will include audio in Spanish and in English. Each session will begin by introducing vocabulary and providing explicit definitions and repeated exposure. Student responses to embedded questions will be evaluated and, based on student performance; the lesson will provide additional scaffolding. These measures, along with teacher feedback and scores on receptive and expressive vocabulary tasks, will be used to make revisions to BLOOM. Fidelity of implementation measures will also be developed.

The second year of the project will use a similar process as that carried out in the first year with the revised e-books, but will develop e-books for use by first-graders. Additionally, a sample of kindergarten students will continue to receive BLOOM and will be 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 will be 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 will be randomly assigned to participate in the intervention or to a business-as-usual condition. Classroom teachers will take 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 will be administered.

Control Condition: The pilot study will use 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—will be used to refine the intervention. Performance on the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading will be used as covariates in the propensity score matching. The Bilingual English Spanish Assessment, Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery-Revised (Spanish and English versions), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Test of Vocabulario Imagenes, and Primary Test of Nonverbal Intelligence will also be administered to assess Spanish and English language performance.

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


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

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.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. Fitton, L., Petscher, Y., Rodriguez, E., Sunderman, G., Lim, T. (in press). The Effect of Ebook Vocabulary Instruction on Spanish–English Speaking Children. Journal of Education Effectiveness.

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., 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.

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.


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.