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Will a New Reading Program Improve ELLs' Literacy in L.A.?

After more than a decade of using Open Court as its flagship reading program, the Los Angeles Unified School District is switching to a new reading program, according to a story posted yesterday at the dailybreeze.com, a news service for the L.A. area. The new program, Treasures, would help to address the needs of English-language learners, says a school district official in the article.

With 220,000 ELLs, Los Angeles has the largest concentration of such students of any school district in the country, the article notes.

Open Court has been criticized for not being tailored for ELLs. I reported on one ELL advocate's criticism of the program and LAUSD officials' response to that criticism in a 2007 EdWeek story about ELLs and reading. The ELL advocate said then that the large gap in reading between ELLs and non-ELLs in Los Angeles demonstrated that Open Court wasn't working. But David L. Brewer III, who was then the superintendent for LAUSD, said the program worked "when skillful teachers use it properly."

The L.A. district is under investigation by the U.S Department of Education for whether it is providing an adequate education for ELLs.

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