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Summer 2007

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Empowering ELLs (and Families) With Technology
Sacramento ESL Teacher Wins Int'l Prize

Larry Ferlazzo, 2007 Grand Prize Winner, Int'l Reading Assoc. AwardLarry Ferlazzo, a high school ESL teacher in Sacramento, CA, was named the 2007 Grand Prize Winner of the International Reading Association Presidential Award For Reading Technology. The award recognizes his work in designing a Web site with 7,000 categorized links specifically for English Language Learners (; setting-up an after-and-before school ESL Computer Lab used by over 100 students each day; and gaining School District support and funding for a Family Literacy Project to provide home computers and DSL service to fifty immigrant families so they could use the Internet to help learn English.

Assessments showed that students enrolled in the school-site computer lab had a fifty percent greater improvement in their English reading proficiency than those students in a control group not in the Lab. Students who were enrolled in the Lab and had computers and DSL access at home had almost double the improvement. In addition, students and their families volunteered that they felt they felt their work with the computers greatly increased their confidence in speaking English.

Students obviously use the computers a great deal in this project. However, one of the priorities of the effort is to help students and families use technology as a tool to engage face-to-face with each other and not just with the computer monitor. Most family members, including parents, had never been in school before. Many family members would sit around the computer and read a “talking” story together at home and discuss it afterwards. In fact, participants highlighted that activity as their favorite use of the computer.

In addition, students in the computer lab were encouraged to use online applications to create activities that they would then share with other students and then talk with them about it.

You can read more information about the school’s use of technology with English Language Learners at:;; and

The ESL MiniConference salutes Larry Ferlazzo on his outstanding achievements and recognition of his dedication to the success of his students.

News Release

2007 ESL MiniConference Online

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