Instead of simply exposing non-native speakers to the English language through immersion, Oregon schools have found that explicitly teaching grammar and rules to English-language learners helped nearly 9,000 students demonstrate fluency in English in the 2006-2007 school year, versus fewer than 4,000 the year before. "For a long time, we just read to them and exposed them to English and figured they would pick it up just like native speakers do," said Danelle Heikkila, who directs an Oregon district's ELL program.

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