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The Language Series 2014 – Exploring Academic Language and Literacy Development

Posted by Gretchen Adams on December 11, 2014

WorkshopThe 15th Annual Language Series took place over November 7th and 8th focused on the theme “Exploring Academic Language and Literacy Development: Connections to the Common Core.” Over 150 attendees came to Bank Street and participated in a series of workshops and presentations with a keynote address by Dr. Celia Genishi, Ph.D.

The event kicked off on Friday evening with a panel discussion featuring Tim Becker, Celia Exelbert, Victoria Hunt, Sabrina Silverstein and Gabrielle Smith, followed by break out sessions with the panelists to delve deeper into the theme. Saturday consisted of workshops facilitated by Celia Genishi and Susan Stires, Gladys Aponte, Lesley Koplow, Ariel Sacks, and Cristian Solorza, along with the presentation by Dr. Genishi.

Dr. Genishi’s presentation, entitled “Oral Language as the Foundation: Exploring Connections to Academic Language and the Common Core,” was told in a three-chapter story. Chapter 1: An Autobiography, focused on the speaker’s early childhood and entrance into the public school system, even sharing her report cards from Grades 1 and 3 to illustrate her language development. Dr. Genishi then provided a definition of academic language—the language students need to do their work in schools, made up of the vocabulary of math, science, language arts, etc.

Children are talented linguists at the same time they learn or avoid learning the specifics of academic language.


Keynote PresentationChapter 2: All Kinds of Languages, Including Academic Language, centered on two case studies starring Luisa and Miguel, Spanish-speaking students who began in a Head Start program in 2005 and observed as they progressed through dual language public school classrooms. Her presentation focused the observations of their development within the framework of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Finally in Chapter 3: Artful Teachers, Dr. Genishi closed her presentation noting how artful teachers do their best to reach a range of students, always working at the art of balancing.

The 16th Annual Language Series will take place on November 6th and 7th, 2015, featuring keynote speaker Ofelia Garcia, co-author of Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education. The Language Series, coordinated by Luisa L. Costa, seeks to promote an in-depth discussion about language development with a focus on methodology and applications for school and home, supporting the professional growth of all educators within a variety of specialty areas.

tagged: common core, graduate school, language series