You are here

Mastering Academic Language

Mastering Academic Language
A Framework for Supporting Student Achievement

December 2012 | 240 pages | Corwin

The achievement gap is a language gap—and you can bridge it!

As teachers, we take the language of school—academic language—for granted. But for many of our students, academic language is more than a new language. It is the "make or break" skill for school success. This exciting and much-needed book shows how teachers can help students become fluent, confident speakers of academic language.

Debbie Zacarian shares a step-by-step, research-based approach to scaffolding K-12 instruction for students who do not have the language and literacy skills that are needed in school. Readers will find

  • Practical teaching strategies based on the four key facets of academic language fluency
  • Richly detailed case studies about students’ experiences with academic language across the content areas
  • Guidance on family involvement
  • Thought-provoking study questions, along with performance assessment tools

An ideal resource for school- and district-wide Common Core initiatives, this book provides teachers with the foundation and tools to ensure an equitable education for all students.

"This book engages teachers in active reflection on the nature of academic language and how it is used in different content areas across the curriculum. It represents an extremely useful tool for school communities to promote academic learning for all students."
—Jim Cummins, Professor
OISE/University of Toronto

"Mastering Academic Language provides a practical look at the sociocultural foundations of academic language, relevant classroom and student examples, and a helpful framework for organizing and enacting the complex processes of developing language across a variety of contexts."
—Jeff Zwiers, Researcher
Stanford University, CERAS 527

To view Debbie's webinar, Unleashing the Power of Academic Language, please visit

About the Author
1. A Call for Reframing
2. Using a Four-Pronged Framework
3. Learning as a Sociocultural Process
4. Learning as a Developmental Process
5. Learning as an Academic Process
6. Learning as a Cognitive Process
7. Engaging in Parent Partnerships
8. Making Data-Driven Decisions
Key features
(1) Provides a much-needed guide to understanding the need for some students (especially ELLs and SELs) to learn academic language explicitly and for teachers to design and deliver high quality learning school and parent engagement environments for this purpose.

(2) Based on an original four pronged framework that describes how academic language learning is a (1) sociocultural, (2) literacy learning, (3) academic, and (4) a cognitive (higher order thinking skill) process.

(3) Suitable for team and individual professional learning, the book incorporates reflective prompts in every chapter. 

(4) Includes richly detailed case studies to help sensitize teachers to the backgrounds and needs of Academic Language Learners and their families.

(5) Ideally suited for use in school- and district-wide common core initiatives.


For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option