Positive Parenting: Support for dual-language learners

Spanish remains the most commonly spoken language in the united states after English. Research finds that children benefit from growing up bilingual, but how can schools and parents help kids dominate both languages?

The friends at the Puerto Rican Action Board’s Raritan Gardens Preschool greet each other in English and spanish; two of the many languages spoken by children at the preschools in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Milagros Nores is the co-director of the National Institute for early education research. She says this preschool program supports dual-language learners effectively.

In a Rutgers study three and four year olds were randomly assigned to either an English-Spanish program or an English-only program. Researchers found the two- way immersion program strengthened learning and development in both languages. Most importantly, English-only children did not regress.

In fact, other research has shown bilingual children have better memories and are able to recall things more quickly.

It’s a lesson even Nores takes to heart with her four children.

Nores recommends parents ask schools what they’re doing to support the home language and what families can do to help.

 

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