Road Map to Effective Biliteracy Instruction

Road Map to Effective Biliteracy Instruction

Jill Kerper Mora

Below is a “road map” for biliteracy teachers through the modules and resources on the MoraModules website for teachers who wish to enhance their knowledge base and repertoire of curriculum design and instructional strategies for promoting language and literacy development and content knowledge with bilingual learners.

Knowledge Base and Teaching Strategies of Effective Biliteracy Teachers

Purpose and Objectives for Biliteracy Instruction MoraModules On-line Resources
Curriculum Design for Primary-language (l1) and Second-language (L2) Literacy Development

Biliteracy teachers are familiar with the curriculum for Language Arts/Reading (LAR) and how dual language instruction is related to LAR standards, as well as content standards at a particular grade level.

Biliteracy teachers understand the theoretical principles of bilingual education and second-language acquisition to implement effective L2 program models.

Biliteracy teachers are knowledgeable about the sociocultural, policy and demographic factors that pose challenges to literacy, biliteracy and second-language acquisition.

Theoretical Foundations of Dual Language Education

Theories of Second Language Acquisition

Models of Bilingual Education Programs

Thematic Unit Planning for Differentiated Language and Literacy Instruction

Biliteracy teachers plan instruction around themes to maximize opportunities for students to acquire language and concepts.

Biliteracy teachers know how to integrate the language arts: Listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Biliteracy teachers base their instruction on a thorough understanding of learning theory, including metacognitive, cognitive and social/affective strategies and processes that learners employ to enhance their linguistic and content-area knowledge.

Thematic Planning for ELLs

4X4 Activities by Levels & Skills

Stages of Second Language Acquisition

Classroom Organization and Management for Effective Spanish and English Language and Literacy Development

Biliteracy teachers coordinate the complex elements of ELD instruction to organize a classroom through multiple teaching strategies and grouping patterns.

Biliteracy teachers organize literacy instruction based on a logical progression from structured teacher-guided activities toward increasing levels of independent reading and writing activities.

Literacy Instruction for English Language Learners

Literacy Instruction Framework

Lesson Planning for Dual Language Instruction

Biliteracy teachers select appropriate methods of instruction to enhance second-language acquisition, literacy development and content-area knowledge.

Biliteracy teachers structure step-by-step lessons to include presentations of concepts and vocabulary and ample opportunities for guided and independent practice.

Biliteracy teachers plan for high levels of student involvement focused on both process and product of learning.

Biliteracy teachers provide ample guided and shared reading and writing activities for students to formulate their thoughts and ideas into stories and narratives

Guiding Principles for DL Program Effectiveness

Lesson Planning for Dual Language Learners

Balanced Biliteracy Instruction

Maximizing Cross-linguistic Transfer in Biliteracy and ELD Instruction

In a bilingual classroom, teachers are familiar with how Spanish language arts and reading and ELD are interrelated and coordinated.

Biliteracy teachers are familiar with principles of cross-linguistic transfer and points of interaction between Spanish and English.

Biliteracy teachers are knowledgeable about Spanish reading methods and Spanish phonetics and orthography in order to design instruction to maximize students’ abilities to read in their primary language.

Biliteracy teachers know how to create conditions for supporting and promoting transfer of learning in biliteracy development and the components of language and literacy skills that are transferable.

Biliteracy teachers understand how metalinguistic awareness, knowledge and skills develops across grade levels and students’ levels of L2 proficiency.

Biliteracy teachers are able to structure and implement effective word study and grammar/syntax study activities to maximize students’ implicit knowledge of how their L1 works (form and function) and how this compares and contrasts with their L2.

Teaching for Transfer in Dual Language Programs

Spanish Reading Methods

Second Language Literacy Instruction

La Fonética del Español

Evaluation and Selection of Appropriate Instructional Materials and Activities

Biliteracy teachers select activities to meet the ELD goals and objectives for each student based on formal and informal assessments of L2 learners’ levels of linguistic and cognitive development.

Biliteracy teachers plan carefully for students’ concept development and critical thinking skills using a variety of interactive and independent teaching formats.

Task Analysis for ELD/SDAIE Instruction
Points of challenge and instructional interventions in L2 reading

Biliteracy teachers understand the dynamics and complexities of reading in a second language.

Biliteracy teachers analyze and select literacy texts for instruction and independent reading based on learners’ ability to handle the challenges of the text.

Contrastive Linguistics
Content-area Teaching

Biliteracy teachers relate content-area knowledge and L2 language and literacy development.

Biliteracy teachers plan to integrate content and concept development into primary language and ELD instruction and learning activities.

Biliteracy teachers design structured learning activities to enhance content-area reading by guiding students in their abilities to analyze and reflect on content area text structures and patterns of exposition.

Planning by Language & Content Objectives

Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE)

Evaluation and Assessment

Biliteracy teachers conduct on-going assessment to monitor English language and literacy development

Biliteracy teachers collaborate with administrators to ensure that the program for L2 is congruent with sound pedagogical principles and well-supported through appropriate material and personnel resources for effective implementation.

Accountability for ELL Education

Language & Content Assessment

Multicultural Education

Biliteracy teachers continually refine their knowledge of linguistic and cultural factors that promote L2 acquisition and the overall development and well-being of diverse learners

Biliteracy teachers use multicultural literature to enhance and refine L2 learners’ enjoyment and appreciation of their own and each other’s diversity.

Biliteracy teachers understand the implications of broader social, economic and political and demographic changes and dynamics that effect their programs and their classroom instruction.

Cross-cultural Interaction

Culturally Inclusive Learning Environment

Culture in Schools and Classrooms

Multicultural Literature

Knowledge Base and Teaching Philosophy

Biliteracy teachers continually grow professionally by reflecting on their practices and engaging with current research in L2 language and literacy development and teaching.

Biliteracy teachers articulate a philosophy of bilingual and second-language education based on a knowledge base that is congruent with their values and beliefs and connected to their personal and professional experiences.

Biliteracy teachers access research and scholarly writing about policies and practices that increase their effectiveness with language minority students and second language learners.

Biliteracy teachers are informed about controversial issues surrounding their profession and education reform in order to be proactive participants in the formulation of pedagogically sound and coherent laws and policies regarding the effective schooling for language minority students.

Critical Thinking in the Bilingual Education Debate

Language Maintenance and Loss

Paradigm Shift for Teaching ELL


Mora, J.K. (2016) Spanish language pedagogy for biliteracy programs. San Diego, CA: Montezuma Publishing.

Mora, J.K. (2001). Learning to spell in two languages: Orthographic transfer in a transitional Spanish/English bilingual program. In P. Dreyer (Ed.), Raising Scores, Raising Questions: Claremont Reading Conference 65th Yearbook (pp. 64-84). Claremont, CA: Claremont Graduate University.

Mora, J.K. (2001). Effective instructional practices and assessment for literacy and biliteracy development. In S. R. Hurley & J.V. Tinajero (Eds.) Literacy Assessment of Second Language Learners (pp. 149-166). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.