The Definitions Project

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The Definitions project is a collaborative effort between Drs. Maria Carlo and a team at the University of South Florida’s Rightpath Center, and Mary Avalos (UM). The research team will conduct a series of experimental studies to inform instructional strategies intended to help ELLs learn the meanings of unfamiliar words while reading independently, in order to improve text comprehension. Project-developed activities and assessments will test the benefits of providing definitions in English versus Spanish, contextual support, and cognate status on the learning of new words by Spanish-speaking fourth graders. Findings from these studies will inform the development of future interventions to help ELLs build the academic vocabulary knowledge they need to benefit from the full academic curriculum as well as to inform the types of testing accommodations provided to ELLs on assessments. For more information, contact Dr. Mary Avalos.