Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Benefits of Dual Language Programs and Effective Resources

Dual language programs are blooming all over the country. The following article shares five benefits for implementing a dual language program.


Here are five reasons why dual language immersion programs are becoming so popular:
1. BILINGUALISM FOR ALL: In contrast to the remedial bilingual education model, which aims to bring ELLs up to speed in English so they can be mainstreamed, dual language immersion is an enrichment model that challenges all students to become fluent in two languages. Classes are often taught by two teachers who each speak exclusively in one language. There is no translation or repeated lessons. Native English speakers and ELLs learn a second language together with no stigma attached.
2. CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP: The recent move away from traditional bilingual education toward English language immersion was meant to help ELLs catch up with English speaking peers. Instead, standardized test scores from 2003 to 2010 show a widening achievement gap. Numerous studies demonstrate that ELLs become more fluent in English when they learn to read in their primary language.
In 2004, Virginia P. Collier and Wayne P. Thomas from George Mason University published an 18-year longitudinal study of dual language programs in 23 school districts and 15 states. They found that dual language immersion fully closes the achievement gap between ELLs and native speakers of English.
3. POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURE: Collier and Thomas discovered that the effectiveness of dual language education extends beyond academic outcomes. The entire school community benefits when multiple languages and cultural heritages are validated and respected. Friendships bridge class and language barriers. Teachers report higher levels of job satisfaction. Parents from both language groups participate more actively in schools.
4. BRAIN BENEFITS: Cognitive neuroscientist Ellen Bialystok has studied bilingualism for almost 40 years. She recently told the New York Times that people who regularly use two languages tend to perform better on executive function tasks and maintain better cognitive functioning with age. Bilingualism is also associated with a five to six year delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms after diagnosis.
5. HAPPY KIDS: Six-year-old Kyra is a first grader who loves her dual language Spanish-English program. "It's really fun because your brain gets to work with two different languages, and your tongue gets to do two different sounds,” she told the L.A. Times.
"This is an amazing program and people should consider putting their children in it," said sixth grader Isaiah Coyotl, the son of Mexican immigrants. "It could help a lot of boys and girls get better jobs, speak two languages and help people in need."

The author, Melanie Smollin writes about all things education for TakePart:  http://www.takepart.com/author/melanie-smollin

Virginia Olivelli's Little Language Learners Educational Resources offers excellent dual language resources in Spanish and Chinese.  The resources are differentiated for all levels of language proficiency for the early primary grades.  They are aligned to CCSS, NGSS, and WIDA.  The units are designed to be used with a Sheltered Instruction approach-although you will also find beautiful direct instruction vocabulary and conversational skills development cards. Teachers can visit TpT for individual purchases:


School districts may purchase the entire Language Development Kit at Little Language Learners website:


Spanish Dual Language:




 Dual Language Neighborhood and Community Helpers: Vocabulary and Concept Development








Chinese Dual Language-Traditional Version: