ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH FLES: Young Learners Benefit from Foreign Language Study

Record: Carolyn Taylor, and Robert LaFayette, “Academic Achievement Through FLES: A Case for Promoting Greater Access to Foreign Language Study Among Young Learners” in The Modern Language Journal, (2010): 22-42. [Available Here]

Summary: Carolyn Taylor is a Professor of Education at the University of Wyoming. Her main focus is on secondary teaching. Robert LaFayette is an Emeritus Professor at Louisiana State University. He specializes in curriculum and instruction. Together these two professors collaborated to develop their common interest on the impact of early foreign language learning on academic achievement. Their study takes place on fifth graders who were introduced to foreign language in their third grade classes. This program is called FLES (Foreign Language Early Start). Continue reading



Record: Nancy C. Rhodes, “Elementary School Foreign Language Teaching: Lessons Learned Over Three Decades (1980-2010)” in Foreign Language Annals 47, (2014): 115-133. [Available Here]

Summary: Nancy Rhodes is a sociolinguistics professional at the Center For Applied Linguistics in Washington D.C. She has a total of eight publications with the company. The Center For Applied Linguistics conducts research, develops language assessments and instructional materials to help enhance professional development and technical assistance service through online courses that provide information related to language and cultural diffusion. Continue reading

BILINGUAL TWO-WAY IMMERSION PROGRAMS: Immersion and Academic Achievement

Record: Viorica Marian, Anthony Shook, and Scott R. Schroeder. “Bilingual Two-Way Immersion Programs Benefit Academic Achievement” in Bilingual Research Journal, (2013): 167-186. [Available Here]

Summary: Viorica Marian, Anthony Shook, and Scott R. Schroeder are all affiliated with Northwestern University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. They are members of the Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Research Group at the university. Dr. Viorica Marian is the principal professor at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on bilingualism and multilingualism. Dr. Anthony Shook is a visiting professor at Northwestern University. He is interested in discovering how the brain processes multiple languages at once. Dr. Scott Schroeder is part of the post-doctoral research team. The bulk of his research is on the relationship between memory and language. His main focus is to determine the impact of bilingual audio-visual integration in the brain. Continue reading

The Benefits of Imaginary Companion Play


Trionfi, G. & Reese, E. (2009). A good story: Children with imaginary companions create richer narratives. Child Development, 80 (4), 1301-1313. [Available here].


Early research considered imaginary companion play to be related to “psychopathology,” “personal defects,” or even “deficiencies in social skills” (p. 1301). Trionfi and Reese, however, created a case study to identify and further previous recorded benefits of imaginative friends for children’s narrative skills. They define pretend play to be any play in which children view their imaginary companion as a “separate other.” Trionfi and Reese explain that most often first-borns and young girls engage in imaginary companion play, whereas young boys often impersonate characters. In addition, they identify that children with imaginary companions were no more or less shy than those without imaginary companions. Children with imaginary friends, however, had more inclinations for other types of fantasy. Trionfi and Reese explain that 4-year-olds with imaginary companions show more advanced understanding of minds, possess an increase in language skills, show more advanced receptive vocabularies, and use more complex syntax. Therefore, they advocate, children’s imaginary companion play is linked to more advanced language use.

Trionfi and Reese’s main thesis is to propose that children’s pretend play can improve their narrative skill. Because imaginary companion play is “one of the most complex expressions of play in early childhood,” and narrative is “one of the most complex linguistic expressions of early childhood,” Trionfi and Reese advocate then that imaginative companion play fosters cognitive development (p. 1303). One such way in which they propose that such play will produce cognitive development is the process of decontextualization. The authors define this as the “use of real situations out of their contexts during play” (p. 1303). Therefore, both imaginary companion play and narrative rely on mental and linguistic expressions. Trionfi and Reese also add that narrative skill relates to reading success and school achievement; thus, narrative skill produces stronger readers. Continue reading

How Does Mobile Learning Affect Primary Students’ Achievement?

Record: Kiger, D., Herro, D., & Prunty, D. (2012). Examining the influence of a mobile learning intervention on third grade math achievement. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 45 (1), 61-82.


This study, conducted in a Midwestern elementary school, attempts to fill the void of educational research on mobile learning in primary education. Much of the preexisting body of research, the authors assert, is on higher education. Thus, this study examines the implementation of a Mobile Learning Intervention (MLI) and its impact on third grade math achievement at Park Elementary in Oconomowoc Area School District. The study was comparative: controlling for variables, it analyzed potential differences in student achievement on a “postintervention” multiplication test and, even more specifically, on the most difficult problems of that test.

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Does a Hierarchical Approach Reduce Frustration?

Robinson, M., & Moeller, S. (2014). Frustrated, but not flustered: The benefits of hierarchical
approach motivation to weathering daily frustration. Motivation and Emotion, 38 (4), 547-559. Retrieved from: [Available here].

Robinson and Moeller studied the differences and variety of structures for goals and concluded that the most valuable structure is a hierarchical organization, containing three levels to personal goals. The following are the three levels: low-level, middle-level, and high-level goals. In view of the hierarchical approach, high-level goals resemble the specific desired outcome, and low-level goals represent the particular steps that one may take to reach the desired result. For instance, passing a specific test would be low-level, and obtaining the best GPA for the school year would be high-level.
Robinson and Moeller conducted two studies to determine whether hierarchical approach methods help endure daily frustrations. In order to determine this, North Dakota University students participated in two studies. Both studies contained a lab session and a daily reporting protocol in which the students gave answers to various questions related to their frustrations.

The study asked the students to rate the extent to which their personal goals were approach-or avoidance-related. Approach-related goals are positive-goal oriented, desiring the good result. Avoidance-related goals, however, achieve the desired result by avoiding negative predictions. Robinson and Moeller assumed the higher the level of goals in the hierarchical approach, the better able the students would be to self-regulate responses to frustrations. Continue reading

Effectiveness of AEPS and BDI-2s


Grisham, J., Hallam, R., Lyons, A., Pretti, K. (2014, August). Comparing Apples and Oranges: The Mismeasurement of Young Children Through the Mismatch of Assessment Purpose and the Interpretation of Results, Topics in Early Childhood Education, (34)2, 106-115.

Find the Article Here


This study focuses on comparing the assessment results from two types of developmental instruments commonly used to determine a child’s developmental status in order for qualification to programs such as special education, or early intervention services. The first instrument used to determine eligibility for special educational services is a criterion-referenced assessment called the AEPS 2nd edition. This practice involves families, produces unbiased information, and is very authentic in providing accurate assessment. In contrast, the second instrument is called the Battelle Developmental Inventory II. This instrument is a non-referenced assessment, and is more of a curriculum-based.

Similarities were found between the two assessments in terms of social/expressive-communicative interaction. However, although there were similar findings between the two assessments, validity must be tested in order to continue using the systems. Therefore, the following research question was made: Do interpretations regarding children’s developmental status using cut off scores for the AEPS 2nd edition coverage with interpretations made using standard scores for the BDI-2?

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