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UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0: Research Evidence

Checkpoint 2.4: Promote understanding across languages

I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation

Language, expressions, and symbols


While students come to school with many different language backgrounds, the language of instruction is typically only in English, raising barriers for many.  The majority of the experimental studies on promoting cross-linguistic understanding listed here focus upon the effectiveness of various tools and strategies to support students' second language acquisition, usually English. These studies review a range of approaches such as incorporating multimedia support, embedding vocabulary support, establishing models of peer support, etc. The scholarly reviews and opinion pieces provide more classroom-based perspectives on supporting second language learning. Some of the articles in this list focus upon vocabulary support. For a more complete list of references on vocabulary development, please be sure to explore the references for "Options that define vocabulary and symbols" as well.

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Experimental and Quantitative Evidence:

Al-Seghayer, K. (2001). The effect of multimedia annotation modes on L2 vocabulary acquisition: A comparative study. Language, Learning & Technology, 5(1), 202-232.

August, D., Carlo, M., Calderon, M., & Proctor, C. P. (2005). Development of literacy in Spanish-speaking English language learners: Findings from a longitudinal study of elementary school children. Perspectives, 31(2), 17-19.

Baker, S. K., Gersten, R., Haager, D., & Dingle, M. (2006). Teaching practice and the reading growth of first-grade English learners: Validation of an observation instrument. The Elementary School Journal, 107(2), 199-220.

Cardenas-Hagan, E., Carlson, C. D., & Pollard-Durodola, S. D. (2007). The cross-linguistic transfer of early literacy skills: The role of initial L1 and L2 skills and language of instruction. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 38(3), 249-259.

Chun, D. M. (2001). L2 reading on the web: Strategies for accessing information in hypermedia. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 14(5), 367-403.

Chun, D. M., & Plass, J. L. (1996). Facilitating reading comprehension with multimedia. System, 24(4), 503-519.

Duff, P. A. (2001). Language, literacy, content, and (pop) culture: Challenges for ESL students in mainstream courses. Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue Canadienne Des Langues Vivantes, 58(1), 103-132.

Fradd, S. H., Lee, O., Sutman, F. X., & Saxton, M. K. (2001) Promoting science literacy with English language learners through instructional materials development: A case study. Bilingual Research Journal, 25(4), 417-439.

Garcia, G. E. (1991). Factors influencing the English reading test performance of Spanish-speaking Hispanic children. Reading Research Quarterly, 26(4), 371-392.

Jiménez, R., García, G. E., & Pearson, P. D. (1996). The reading strategies of bilingual Latina/o students who are successful English readers: Opportunities and obstacles. Reading Research Quarterly, 31(1), 90-112.

Jimenez, R. T., Garcia, G. E., & Pearson, P. D. (1995). Three children, two languages, and strategic reading: Case studies in Bilingual/Monolingual reading. American Educational Research Journal, 32(1), 67-97.

Jones, L. C., & Plass, J. L. (2002). Supporting listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition in French with multimedia annotations. The Modern Language Journal, 86(4), 546-561.

Kidd, E., Brandt, S., Lieven, E., & Tomasello, M. (2007). Object relatives made easy: A cross-linguistic comparison of the constraints influencing young children's processing of relative clauses. Language & Cognitive Processes, 22(6), 860-897.

Kobayashi, M. (2003). The role of peer support in ESL students' accomplishment of oral academic tasks. Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue Canadienne Des Langues Vivantes, 59(3), 337-369.

Lesaux, N. K., Rupp, A. A., & Siegel, L. S. (2007). Growth in reading skills of children from diverse linguistic backgrounds: Findings from a 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(4), 821-834.

Mellow, J. D. (2008). The emergence of complex syntax: A longitudinal case study of the ESL development of dependency resolution. Lingua, 118(4), 499-521.

Pappamihiel, N. E. (2001). Moving from the ESL classroom into the mainstream: An investigation of English language anxiety in Mexican girls. Bilingual Research Journal, 25(1/2), 31-38.

Plass, J. L., Chun, D. M., Mayer, R. E., & Leutner, D. (2003). Cognitive load in reading a foreign language text with multimedia aids and the influence of verbal and spatial abilities. Computers in Human Behavior, 19(2), 221-243.

Plass, J. L., Chun, D. M., Mayer, R. E., Leutner, D., Petig, W., & Voge, W. (1998). Supporting visual and verbal learning preferences in a second-language multimedia learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 25-36.

Proctor, C. P., Dalton, B., & Grisham, D. L. (2007). Scaffolding English language learners and struggling readers in a universal literacy environment with embedded strategy instruction and vocabulary support. Journal of Literacy Research, 39(1), 71-93.

Proctor, C. P., August, D., Carlo, M., & Snow, C. (2005). Native Spanish-speaking children reading in English: Toward a model of comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 246-256.

Proctor, C. P., August, D., Carlo, M. S., & Snow, C. E. (2006). The intriguing role of Spanish language vocabulary knowledge in predicting English reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 159-169.

Riccio, C. A., Amado, A., Jimenez, S., Hasbrouck, J. E., Imhoff, B., & Denton, C. (2001). Cross-linguistic transfer of phonological processing: Development of a measure of phonological processing in Spanish. Bilingual Research Journal, 25(4), 583-604.

Romeo, K. (2008). A web-based listening methodology for studying relative clause acquisition. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(1), 51-66.

Sullivan, N., & Pratt, E. (1996). A comparative study of two ESL writing environments: A computer-assisted classroom and a traditional oral classroom. System, 24(4), 491-501.

Taylor, B. P. (1975). The use of overgeneralization and transfer learning strategies by elementary and intermediate students of ESL 1. Language Learning, 25(1), 73-107.

Verhoeven, L. (2000). Components in early second language reading and spelling. Scientific Studies of Reading, 4(4), 313-330.

Scholarly reviews and expert opinions:

Busch, H. (2003). Computer based readers for intermediate foreign-language students. Educational Media International, 40(3), 276-285.

Coelho, E. (1994). Learning together in the multicultural classroom. Markham, Ontario: Pippin Publishing Limited.

Deignan, A., Gabrys, D., & Solska, A. (1997). Teaching English metaphors using cross-linguistic awareness-raising activities. ELT Journal, 51(4), 352-360.

Durgunoğlu, A. Y. (2002). Cross-linguistic transfer in literacy development and implications for language learners. Annals of Dyslexia, 52(1), 189-204.

Gersten, R. (1994). Effective instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students: A reconceptualization. Focus on Exceptional Children, 27(1), 1-16.

Gersten, R., & Baker, S. (2000). The professional knowledge base on instructional practices that support cognitive growth for english-language learners. In R. M. Gersten, E. P. Schiller & S. Vaughn (Eds.), Contemporary special education research: Syntheses of the knowledge base on critical instructional issues (pp. 31-79). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Gersten, R., & Woodward, J. (1994). The language minority student and special education: Issues, themes and paradoxes. Exceptional Children, 60(4), 310-322. (1994).

Mayer, C., & Akamatsu, C. T. (2003). Bilingualism and literacy. In M. Marschark, & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 136-147). New York: Oxford University Press.

Odlin, T. (1989). Language transfer: Cross-linguistic influence in language learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Spangenberg-Urbschat, K., & Pritchard, R. H. (1994). Kids come in all languages: Reading instruction for ESL students. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Strangman, N., Meyer, A., Hall, T., & Proctor, P. (2008). Improving foreign language instruction with new technologies and universal design for learning. In E. Hamilton, & T. & Barbieri (Eds.), Worlds apart: Disability and foreign language learning (pp. 33-48). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Tsimpli, I. M., & Dimitrakopoulou, M. (2007). The interpretability hypothesis: Evidence from wh-interrogatives in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 23(2), 215-242.

Watts-Taffe, S., & Truscott, D. M. (2000). Using what we know about language and literacy development for ESL students in the mainstream classroom. Language Arts, 77(3), 258-265.





Last Updated: 02/01/2011

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