In 2006-07, we launched the Spanish version of Benchmarks, an adaptation of our English version, to better serve the large Spanish-speaking population within many public elementary schools. According to the research conducted by the National Literacy Panel, essential to engaging English Language Learners in literacy programs is utilizing First-language literacy, allowing students to leverage:
- Higher order vocabulary skills (e.g., formal definitions, metaphors);
- Cognate relationships (e.g., “continue” in English and “continuar” in Spanish); and
- Developmental patterns in speech discrimination, speech production, intra-word segmentation, and vocabulary.
Our Spanish Benchmarks is an adaptation, not a translation, of our English Benchmarks reading program, accounting for the particulars of the Spanish language and its orthography, guided by Spanish pedagogy. It is designed to be used in bilingual kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms in which reading is taught in Spanish. It uses the same schedule, format, and instructional strategies as the original Benchmarks program for kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms where Spanish is the daily language of instruction.