The New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has launched several strategies as part of the state’s educational reform agenda. Fundamental to this effort has been the establishment of 28 learning standards in seven disciplines: English Language Arts, Math Science and Technology, Social Studies, Health, Career Development and Occupational Studies, Languages Other than English, and the Arts.

The learning standards form the foundation for what students must know and be able to do to as a result of being educated in NYS public schools. Central to the 28 standards are the four English Language Arts (ELA) standards.

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.
Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.
Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.
Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.
Research on language learning makes it clear that language achievement depends upon the extent to which the learner is engaged in actual acts of reading, writing, listening, and speaking for meaningful purposes.

Which learning standards pertain to LEP students?

The 28 learning standards apply to all students, regardless of their experiential, linguistic, or cultural background, capabilities, or developmental and learning differences. In particular, the ELA standards are the standards that apply to ESL and native language arts. Bilingual and ESL teachers are expected to teach to these standards in ESL, English language arts, and native language arts.

What does NYSED require in the area of language arts?

Districts must ensure that ample and varied experiences with language are provided for all students, including LEP students, to enable them to use language effectively and meet the high standards set for English language arts. NYSED requires the following learning experiences for all students:

Read a minimum of 25 books or their equivalent per year across all content areas.
Write an average of 1000 words per month across all content areas.
Listen on a daily basis for specific purposes across all content areas.
Speak on a daily basis to investigate topics across all content areas.
Language experiences in English and in the native language fulfill these requirements. The International Reading Association (IRA) proclaimed its support of literacy in the native language. See the IRA’s resolution on “Initial Literacy Instruction in a First Language”.

What kind of materials and books should students read?

A suggested list of reading materials for LEP students at all grade levels has been complied by the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education. It includes books and other reading materials in English and in several other languages. This list is in progress and will be expanded periodically.