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RULE §128.2Spanish Language Arts and Reading, Kindergarten, Adopted 2017

(a) Introduction.

  (1) The Spanish language arts and reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) reflect language arts standards that are authentic to the Spanish language and Spanish literacy; they are neither translations nor modifications of the English language arts TEKS. The Spanish language arts and reading TEKS embody the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking through the seven integrated strands of developing and sustaining foundational language skills; comprehension; response; multiple genres; author's purpose and craft; composition; and inquiry and research. The strands focus on academic oracy (proficiency in oral expression and comprehension), authentic reading, and reflective writing to ensure a literate Texas. They are integrated and progressive with students continuing to develop knowledge and skills with increased complexity and nuance in order to think critically and adapt to the ever-evolving nature of language and literacy.

  (2) The seven strands of the essential knowledge and skills for Spanish language arts and reading are intended to be integrated for instructional purposes and are recursive in nature. Strands include the four domains of language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and their application in order to accelerate the acquisition of language skills so that students develop high levels of social and academic language proficiency. Although some strands may require more instructional time, each strand is of equal value, may be presented in any order, and should be integrated throughout the year. It is important to note that encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading) are reciprocal skills. Decoding is internalized when tactile and kinesthetic opportunities (encoding) are provided. Additionally, students should engage in academic conversations, write, read, and be read to on a daily basis with opportunities for cross-curricular content and student choice.

  (3) Spanish, as opposed to English, has a closer letter-sound relationship and clearly defined syllable boundaries. The syllable in Spanish is a more critical unit of phonological awareness than in English because of the consistent phoneme-grapheme correspondence. Syllables are important units for Spanish because of their strong effect in visual word recognition (Carreiras et al., 1993) and their major role in predicting Spanish reading success. In addition, Spanish presents a much higher level of orthographic transparency than English and does not rely on sight words for decoding. This orthographic transparency accelerates the decoding process, and the focus quickly moves to fluency and comprehension. However, in English sight words are used because of words that are not decodable such as "are" or "one." In Spanish, decoding issues are not as prevalent as issues of comprehension. These specific features of the Spanish language will influence reading methodology and development.

  (4) Text complexity increases with challenging vocabulary, sophisticated sentence structures, nuanced text features, cognitively demanding content, and subtle relationships among ideas (Texas Education Agency, STAAR Performance Level Descriptors, 2013). As skills and knowledge are obtained in each of the seven strands, students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth to increasingly complex texts in multiple genres as they become self-directed, critical learners who work collaboratively while continuously using metacognitive skills.

  (5) Research consistently shows that language and literacy development in the student's native language not only facilitates learning English and English literacy, but is foundational to cognitive development and learning (Cummins, 2001; Thomas & Collier, 2002; Coelho, 2001). Emergent bilinguals (Sparrow et al., 2014; Slavin & Cheving, 2013) are students who are in the process of acquiring two or more linguistic codes, becoming bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. Emergent bilinguals are often defined by their perceived deficits (semilinguals) (Escamilla, 2012). However, research has shown that bilinguals develop a unique interdependent system (Escamilla et al. 2007; Grosjean, 1989; Valdes and Figueroa, 1994) in which languages interconnect to increase linguistic functionality. This linguistic interdependence of language acquisition facilitates a transfer of literacy skills from the primary language (L1) to the second language (L2) (August & Shanahan, 2006; Bialystok, 2007; Miramontes, et al., 1997). The strength of learning through formal instruction in Spanish determines the extent of transfer to English (August, Calderon, & Carlo, 2002; Slavin & Calderon, 2001; Garcia, 2001). For transfer to be maximized, cross-linguistic connections between the two languages must be explicitly taught while students engage in a contrastive analysis of the Spanish and English languages (Cummins, 2007). Continued strong literacy development in Spanish provides the foundation and scaffold for literacy development given that a Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP) exists between the two languages (Cummins, 1991). Consequently, direct and systematic instruction (Genesee et al., 2005) in the appropriate sequence of Spanish skills with early English as a second language-based literacy instruction is critical to student success. As a result of working within two language systems, students' metalinguistic and metacognitive skills are enhanced when they learn about the similarities and differences between languages (Escamilla et. al., 2014). The extent to which English and Spanish are used is reliant on the type of bilingual program model being used (see Texas Education Code, §29.066).

  (6) English language learners (ELLs) are expected to meet standards in a second language, and their proficiency in English directly impacts their ability to meet these standards. The comprehension of text throughout the stages of English language acquisition requires scaffolds such as adapted text, translations, native language support, cognates, summaries, pictures, realia, glossaries, bilingual dictionaries, thesauri, and other modes of comprehensible input. Strategic use of the student's first language is important to ensure linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English. ELLs can and should be encouraged to use knowledge of their first language to enhance vocabulary development; vocabulary needs to be in the context of connected oral and written discourse so that it is meaningful.

  (7) Current research stresses the importance of effectively integrating second language acquisition with quality content area education in order to ensure that ELLs acquire social and academic language proficiency in English, learn the knowledge and skills, and reach their full academic potential. Instruction must be linguistically accommodated in accordance with the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) and the student's English language proficiency levels to ensure the mastery of knowledge and skills in the required curriculum is accessible. For a further understanding of second language acquisition needs, refer to the ELPS and proficiency-level descriptors adopted in Chapter 74, Subchapter A, of this title (relating to Required Curriculum).

  (8) Oral language proficiency holds a pivotal role in school success; verbal engagement must be maximized across grade levels (Kinsella, 2010). In order for students to become thinkers and proficient speakers in science, social studies, mathematics, fine arts, language arts and reading, and career and technical education, they must have multiple opportunities to practice and apply the academic language of each discipline (Fisher, Frey, & Rothenberg, 2008).

  (9) Statements that contain the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(b) Knowledge and skills.

  (1) Developing and sustaining foundational language skills: listening, speaking, discussion, and thinking--oral language. The student develops oral language through listening, speaking, and discussion. The student is expected to:

    (A) listen actively and ask questions to understand information and answer questions using multi-word responses;

    (B) restate and follow oral directions that involve a short, related sequence of actions;

    (C) share information and ideas by speaking audibly and clearly using the conventions of language;

    (D) work collaboratively with others by following agreed-upon rules for discussion, including taking turns; and

    (E) develop social communication such as introducing himself/herself, using common greetings, and expressing needs and wants.

  (2) Developing and sustaining foundational language skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking--beginning reading and writing. The student develops word structure knowledge through phonological awareness, print concepts, phonics, and morphology to communicate, decode, and spell. The student is expected to:

    (A) demonstrate phonological awareness by:

      (i) identifying and producing rhyming words;

      (ii) recognizing spoken alliteration or groups of words that begin with the same simple syllable or initial sound;


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