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More Than Words: Academic Language & Literacy

March 3, 2022 - March 10, 2022

Design practical, hands-on activities for English learners to be successful within rigorous content instruction while exploring the academic language and literacy practices of the 21st century classroom.

Academic language is so much more than vocabulary. Please join us for this engaging two-day institute designed to increase understanding and provide practical resources regarding the instruction of academic language and literacy.

The institute will focus on the language acquisition of English learners at three levels: discourse, sentence, and word or phrase level. The focus will be on bridging from students’ home language(s), dialects and more conversational language to the classroom or text language that allows them to meet content and language acquisition standards in the classroom.

Based on a 21st century approach to literacy, participants will explore the academic language and literacy practices –– such as listening for the speaker’s point of view or justifying the answer to a math problem –– that students need to be successful within rigorous content instruction. Educators will also learn how to scaffold participation in these discipline-specific practices, such as creating a model of the planetary system or contrasting two different cultural versions of a story.

After defining academic language and literacy, participants will learn more about each level of language and how each level is measured in English language proficiency assessments, such as the WIDA ACCESS test. Participants will analyze classroom videos and texts at each of the levels of language. Facilitators will also draw upon CAL’s federally funded research on vocabulary acquisition and demonstrate methods for identifying and teaching high frequency, high-utility academic vocabulary.

Throughout the two days, activities that teachers can implement in the classroom will be modeled. Strategies are applicable to bilingual learners as well as students at intermediate and advanced proficiencies in English, including long term English learners.

The institute is designed for classroom teachers working with language learners in grades PreK-12. ESL, reading and other school specialists who work with classroom teachers, school administrators, and other educators will also benefit from this valuable professional development opportunity.  Collaborative teaching teams are especially encouraged to attend.


Self-Paced Content

  • Between March 3rd and 10th, 2022, participants will be expected to complete approximately 3 hours of self-paced work in CAL’s asynchronous Moodle platform.

March 3, 2022: 9:30am-12:30pm and 2:00-3:30pm EST

  • Identifying key principles for instructing English learners in content and language development classrooms
  • Defining academic language and literacy in the 21st century
  • Bridging from oral language to traditional literacy
  • Analyzing text and classroom interactions at the three levels of academic language: discourse, sentence, and word/phrase
  • Fostering a motivating learning environment and developing language awareness activities

March 10, 2022: 9:30am-12:30pm and 2:00-3:30pm EST

  • Strategically selecting vocabulary terms to meet individual instructional needs and content and language standards
  • Applying differentiated methods of instruction to teach various kinds of words
  • Using methods for explicit vocabulary instruction, including contextual and analytic instruction
  • Promoting oral language development and incidental word learning through the four modalities of language
  • Wrap-Up


  • Early bird registration by February 1, 2022: $735/person.
  • After February 1, 2022: $865/person. Send 2 people or more and pay $735 each.
  • Cost includes all training materialsEach participant receives a copy of CAL’s professional development workbook: Developing Academic Literacy and Language in the Content Areas and the companion video clips and unit plans.
  • Register early, as space is limited.

Questions? Email CAL with any questions you may have about our offerings.

Certificate of Completion

Participants will receive a CAL Certificate of Completion which may be used for continuing education credit.


March 3, 2022
March 10, 2022
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