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Mastering Academic Language

A Framework for Supporting Student Achievement

Ideal for Common Core initiatives, this much-needed book offers a step-by-step approach for teaching academic language, including case studies, classroom strategies, study questions, and more.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452255439
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2012
  • Page Count: 240
  • Publication date: January 01, 2013

Price: $40.95

Price: $40.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.



The achievement gap is a language gap—and you can bridge it!

As teachers, we take the language of school—academic language—for granted. But for many of our students, academic language is more than a new language. It is the "make or break" skill for school success. This exciting and much-needed book shows how teachers can help students become fluent, confident speakers of academic language.

Debbie Zacarian shares a step-by-step, research-based approach to scaffolding K-12 instruction for students who do not have the language and literacy skills that are needed in school. Readers will find

  • Practical teaching strategies based on the four key facets of academic language fluency
  • Richly detailed case studies about students’ experiences with academic language across the content areas
  • Guidance on family involvement
  • Thought-provoking study questions, along with performance assessment tools

An ideal resource for school- and district-wide Common Core initiatives, this book provides teachers with the foundation and tools to ensure an equitable education for all students.

"This book engages teachers in active reflection on the nature of academic language and how it is used in different content areas across the curriculum. It represents an extremely useful tool for school communities to promote academic learning for all students."
—Jim Cummins, Professor
OISE/University of Toronto

"Mastering Academic Language provides a practical look at the sociocultural foundations of academic language, relevant classroom and student examples, and a helpful framework for organizing and enacting the complex processes of developing language across a variety of contexts."
—Jeff Zwiers, Researcher
Stanford University, CERAS 527

To view Debbie's webinar, Unleashing the Power of Academic Language, please visit http://www.corwin.com/learning/zacarian.html.

Key features

(1) Provides a much-needed guide to understanding the need for some students (especially ELLs and SELs) to learn academic language explicitly and for teachers to design and deliver high quality learning school and parent engagement environments for this purpose.

(2) Based on an original four pronged framework that describes how academic language learning is a (1) sociocultural, (2) literacy learning, (3) academic, and (4) a cognitive (higher order thinking skill) process.

(3) Suitable for team and individual professional learning, the book incorporates reflective prompts in every chapter. 

(4) Includes richly detailed case studies to help sensitize teachers to the backgrounds and needs of Academic Language Learners and their families.

(5) Ideally suited for use in school- and district-wide common core initiatives.



Debbie Zacarian photo

Debbie Zacarian

Dr. Debbie Zacarian, founder of Zacarian & Associates, provides professional development, strategic planning, and technical assistance for K-16 educators of culturally and linguistically diverse populations. She has served as an expert consultant for school districts, universities, associations, and organizations including the Massachusetts Parent Information Resource Center and Federation for Children with Special Needs.

Debbie has worked with numerous state and local education agencies and written the language assistance programming policies for many rural, suburban, and urban districts. Debbie served on the faculty of University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she co-wrote and was the co-principal investigator of a National Professional Development grant initiative supporting the professional preparation of educators of multilingual learners. Debbie also designed and taught courses for pre- and in-service administrators and teachers on culturally responsive teaching and supervision practices, multilingual development, and ethnographic research. In addition, she served as a program director at the Collaborative for Educational Services where she provided professional development for thousands of educators of multilingual students and partnered with Fitchburg State University in co-writing and enacting a National Professional Development initiative that supported STEM education. Debbie also directed the Amherst Public Schools bilingual and English learner programming where she and the district received state and national honors.

The author of more than 100 publications, her most recent professional books include: Beyond Crises: Overcoming Linguistic and Cultural Inequities in Communities. Schools and Classrooms; Responsive Schooling for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students; Teaching to Empower: taking action to foster student agency, self-confidence, and collaboration; and Teaching to Strengths: Supporting Students living with Trauma, Violence and Chronic Stress.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


About the Author


1. A Call for Reframing

2. Using a Four-Pronged Framework

3. Learning as a Sociocultural Process

4. Learning as a Developmental Process

5. Learning as an Academic Process

6. Learning as a Cognitive Process

7. Engaging in Parent Partnerships

8. Making Data-Driven Decisions




Price: $40.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.