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Reading Certificate Prepares Educators inTwo-Way Immersion

New Reading Certificate Prepares Teachers and Administrators in Two-Way Immersion

Graduate School of Education, University Extension team up to provide a unique program.

(August 30, 2005)

RIVERIDE, Calif. - - UC Riverside is offering a one-of-a-kind reading certificate program that will prepare educators to teach in two-way immersion classes, a process that puts native English speakers and English language learners in the same classroom to provide content instruction in both languages.

Approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in June, UCR’s new Certificate in Reading with a Biliteracy Emphasis is the only one of its kind in California.

The certificate is offered through a partnership with University Extension and UCR’s Two-Way Immersion Biliteracy Specialist Institute. The certificate will allow teachers and administrators to go on to get their Reading Specialist Credential.

An increasing number of school districts are turning to two-way immersion as a way to fulfill both state and federal goals of improving the educational achievement of their students. In the two-way immersion approach the class is split evenly with both native English speakers and Spanish speakers. Teachers spend half their instructional time in English and the other half in Spanish.

It is a teaching process that is beneficial to all the students in the class, said Dr. Teresa Márquez-López, a UC Riverside researcher and Director of UCR’s Two-Way Immersion Biliteracy Specialist Institute. All students in the class learn a second language and broaden their knowledge and appreciation for the other culture.

“Students who can speak, read and write fluently in both English and Spanish increase their chances of being successful academically and are more in demand when it is time for them to start their careers,” said Dr. Márquez-López. “The demand for teachers who are trained in two-way immersion is increasing as more and more school districts incorporate the program into their educational offerings.”

Currently, six school districts in the region are implementing two-way immersion programs at one or more of their school sites. The districts include Banning, Corona-Norco, Beaumont, San Bernardino City, Victor Elementary and Ontario-Montclair. These districts are collaborative members of the Two-Way Immersion Biliteracy Specialist Institute qualifying their teachers and administrator for scholarship funding to enroll in the courses offered through the institute.

The 70 teachers and administrators who have enrolled in the Biliteracy Specialist Program are finding the experience valuable to their teaching practice. Melanie McGrath, a program graduate and student entering UCR’s Ph.D. program this September says, “The Biliteracy Specialist Program allows us to reflect on and strengthen our teaching practices. I like how it is explicit about teaching biliteracy, how to read and write in English and Spanish. What I feel is powerful about the program is that it is building capacity and leadership among teacher and administrators. It gives us the theoretical background to create change in the educational system.”

The certificate is one of five tiers of training offered by the institute, which was funded in 2002 with a five-year $1.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant. Other tiers include a Reading Specialist Credential, Bilingual Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) certificate, a Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD) certificate and a Paraprofessional Scholarship Program.

The Biliteracy Development course will be offered during the fall quarter. The class begins on Thursday, Sept. 15, and will be held at UCR Extension. Enrollment is open to teachers and administrators and on site registration will take place during the first class session.

To take part in the new certificate program students must already possess the BCLAD certification, teachers must have a California multiple or single-subject credential with three years of teaching experience at the time the Reading Specialist Credential with Biliteracy Emphasis is awarded.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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