Holy Cross has been awarded a $90,000 STARTALK grant to convene a 10-day summer residential program on literacy development in Chinese as a foreign language (CFL). This is the fourth year in a row that the College has received STARTALK funding for this program. STARTALK programs are a component of the National Security Language Initiative, aimed at expanding and improving the teaching and learning of ‘critical languages,’ strategically important world languages that are not widely taught in the United States. The program will run July 23 – August 3.
Called “Read On: Training Modules for Reading Literacy in Chinese IV,” the 10-day STARTALK residential workshop is for master teachers of CFL to develop best practices in literacy development focusing on reading strategies and reading comprehension. Applicants must have at least 3-5 years of full-time experience at a specific grade level teaching Chinese as a foreign language in American classrooms.
During the program, participants will create reading modules integrated within Standards-based units that can be used in the classroom as well as in CFL teacher training programs. Participants will be ‘on-task’ for 10 hours a day and will engage in a pre-program forum on character literacy in a Standards-based curriculum, focusing on best practices developed in the 2012-2014 STARTALK “Read-On” programs.
The proposal was authored by Claudia Ross, professor of Chinese in the department of modern languages and literatures, and she will serve as the program director. The leadership team also includes Baozhang He, associate professor of Chinese in the department of modern languages and literatures, who will serve as the program coordinator, and Meng Yeh, associate director of the Center for the Study of Languages at Rice University, who will serve as the instructional lead. The program will begin with workshops led by two top researchers in the field of Chinese language and literacy development, Michael Everson, professor emeritus at the University of Iowa, and Shuhan Wang, who has served leadership roles in the Asia Society and the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland.
There have been many studies of Chinese literacy acquisition among first and second language learners of Chinese, but the findings have not made their way into the CFL classroom in any systematic way. The goal of the Holy Cross STARTALK literacy program has been to use research findings to develop ‘best practices,’ effective instructional strategies for teaching students how to read Chinese.
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