Introduction and Overview


  • To assist educators of deaf students in their efforts to promote their students' English language acquisition and literacy development
  • To assist educators of hard-of-hearing students, of students of English as a second language (ESL), and of other students with limited English proficiency (LEP), whose English difficulties are often similar to the difficulties experienced by many deaf students
  • To provide a "bridge" between theory and practice (to demonstrate the implications and applications of research)
  • To help professionals to remain current with the latest research findings that are relevant to their teaching needs
  • To demonstrate the complexities of the English language and the details of specific English structures and processes
  • To explain the linguistic challenges confronting English language learners
  • To help teachers anticipate the kinds of problems students might have with specific English structures and processes
  • To clarify the language acquisition process
  • To translate grammatical explanations and theoretical research findings into "everyday" language
  • To offer teachers suggestions for illustrating structures, promoting readability, and applying research results
  • To give teachers guided practice (with feedback) in identifying and modifying specific structures for instructional purposes
  • To encourage teachers to provide feedback on their use of SEA web site and to report the results of their experimentation

Intended Audience

  • Teachers of English grammar, reading, and writing at all educational levels—primary, secondary, post-secondary, and adult education
  • Classroom teachers who provide English language instruction to deaf students, as well as teachers of hard-of-hearing students, of students of English as a second language (ESL), and of other students with limited English proficiency (LEP), including language-delayed students and students with learning disabilities
  • Teachers of content courses who want to incorporate English teaching methods and materials into their courses in order to support the Engish language acquisition of their students or who need to make their reading materials and lectures more accessible to deaf, ESL, and other LEP students
  • Speech-language therapists and other clinicians working with LEP students or language-impaired individuals
  • Teachers who teach in bilingual programs or who teach foreign languages and want to compare English grammar with the grammars of other languages
  • Materials developers and authors who want to incorporate the findings of English language research into English language materials
  • Program administrators who want to organize professional development training for their staff
  • Researchers who are interested in the implications and potential applications of research to the teaching of English
  • Students themselves whose current English abilities would allow them to benefit directly from these resource pages

Instructions and Features

The Supporting English Acquisition web site consists of modules that address a variety of problematic English structures and processes. Most of these modules consist of the following components: Introduction, Grammatical Summary, Research Findings and Implications, Guided Practice, and Action Steps. Clicking on "Structures and Processes" on the top menu bar will take you to the menu of modules currently contained in this site. The components of each module contain a variety of linked subsections that cover the most essential aspects of the target structure or process.

In the Research Findings and Implications section of a given module, published articles or books are sometimes cited. These citations are provided as underlined links. Clicking on an underlined citation will open a window containing a complete reference for that citation. An alphabetized list of all references are also provided.

The Guided Practice section of a module contains a variety of interactive exercises designed to enhance the site visitor's familiarity with the structure or process covered in the module. Clicking specific choices in these exercises opens pop-up windows containing correct answers.

The SEA Site contains an Evaluation/Feedback Form. After you have used the SEA Site on one or more occasions, click "Feedback" on the top menu bar to access the form. Please provide your feedback and demographic information on this brief form and then click "Submit." Your input is valuable for improving and expanding the SEA Web Site. You can also send an e-mail message to the SEA Site Editor by clicking "Contact" on the top menu bar.

Suggestions for using this site

  • Read the sections of the SEA Site Introduction.
  • Click on "Structures and Processes" in the side menu bar.
  • Study the menu of module titles to identify the English grammatical structure or process that seems most relevant to your educational concerns.
  • The module titles may refer to very common structures and processes in terms that you are not completely familiar with. Therefore, click on a specific module title and read the Introduction to that module in order to familiarize yourself with the nature and scope of the phenomena covered in that module.
  • Once you have identified a module that is relevant to your needs, work through all the sections and linked subsections of that module.
  • Be sure to work through the Guided Practice exercises of your chosen module in order to sharpen your intuitions and gain optimal familiarity with the phenomena presented through active practice and feedback.
  • Study the Action Steps discussed at the end of your chosen module in order to select or adapt specific ideas, strategies, and activities to incorporate into your own courses, tutoring, or other educational services.
  • Study other SEA Site modules as appropriate.
  • Click "Feedback" on the top menu bar and complete and submit the SEA Site Evaluation/Feedback Form.


In discussing English language phenomena, it is necessary to introduce a certain amount of grammatical or linguistic terminology in order to describe and explain specific grammatical structures and processes and to help site visitors to sharpen their intuitions about difficult aspects of the English language. Where possible, module authors have attempted not to overuse grammatical or linguistic terminology.

It is important to remember that, in most cases, helping students with their ongoing English language acquisition does not require the actual use of grammatical or linguistic terminology with students. The goal of the Supporting English Acquisition web site is to sharpen educators' intuitions about problematic aspects of English and to provide them with strategies for facilitating their students' improvement in English. Facilitating students' ongoing English skill development can be achieved by structuring the learning environment and incorporating activities in ways that naturally reinforce specific structures and processes without the use (or overuse) of grammatical terms.


Contributor positions listed below are as they were at the time of the website creation.

Originator, Editor, and Module Author

Headshot of Gerald Berent

Gerald P. Berent, Ph.D.
Department of Research

Co-originator and Instructional Developer

Headshot of William Clymer

E. William Clymer, M.S., M.B.A.
Coordinator, PEN-International

Module Authors

Headshot of Stephen Aldersley

Stephen Aldersley, Ed.D.
Chairperson, Department of English

Headshot of Margaret Brophy

Margaret C. Brophy, M.S.Ed.
Department of English

Headshot of Karen Christie

Karen Christie, Ph.D.
Department of Cultural and Creative Studies

Headshot of Susan Keenan

Susan K. Keenan, Ed.D.
Department of Enlish

Headshot of Eugene Lylak

Eugene Lylak, Ed.D.
Department of English

Headshot of John-Allen Payne

John-Allen Payne, Ph.D.
Department of English

Headshot of Kathy Varone

Kathy Varone, M.S.
Department of English


Website Development Team

Cecelia Dorn, Web Programmer/Consultant
Richard Ohanian, Web Programmer