January 15, 2012

Dual-language Classes on the Rise in Central Florida

From http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-dual-language-20120106,0,597945.story

Dual-language classes on the rise in Central Florida
Educators say children who know Spanish and English perform better academically
By Erica Rodriguez
January 6, 2012

When it comes time for math and phonics at Spring Lake Elementary School, first-graders in an experimental classroom stop speaking English and start learning in a language that's foreign to many of them.

For about an hour a day, students at the Seminole County school who have never spoken Spanish will learn their numbers and letters, sing and play games completely in Spanish.

The goal is ambitious: Teachers aim to have each student speaking, reading and writing both English and Spanish equally by the end of the year with the hope of giving English-speakers a leg up on a new language while helping Spanish-speakers keep theirs.

The program is just a few months old in Seminole, where students learning English are only about 4 percent of the district population. Seminole's fledgling dual-language program is part of a small but increasingly popular way schools locally and across the country are trying to bridge the gap between English and Spanish speakers while boosting academics.

Read the full article at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-dual-language-20120106,0,597945.story

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