Teaching students to use "academic language," or the language of school and the workplace, is an important part of teaching students to read.
The trouble is, it's not necessarily the same language that students (even native English speakers!) are used to hearing in the everyday world and at home. So it must be explicitly taught at school.
Academic language deficits can be especially acute for ELL students who aren't using any English at home, or students in poverty who often aren't exposed to as much language at a young age as their peers. (See recent NY Times story on the "language gap.")
Jessica wrote a post last week related to this -- with advice for teachers on how to help "long-term English learners" build academic language and routines from our English 3D program. And this Ed Week story lays out the issues nicely.
"We've engaged in real benign neglect with English-learners and those students who come from generational poverty and families with minimal educational experience," San Francisco State University professor Kate Kinsella said.