August 25, 2013

For Young ELLs, Learning in Two Languages Best, Review Says


For Young ELLs, Learning in Two Languages Best, Review Says
By Lesli A. Maxwell
August 19, 2013

Instruction in English and in a child's home language in the preschool and early elementary years leads to the best outcomes for the youngest dual-language learners, both in terms of academic-content achievement and as English-language proficiency, a new research review and policy brief concludes.

In fact, evidence suggests that total immersion in English in the preschool years for students who speak another language at home leads to a loss of their first language, as well as lower academic achievement in the long run, writes Linda M. Espinosa, an early childhood and dual-language expert. This latest review— which is an update to a policy brief that Espinosa wrote five years ago—draws on newer evidence about young dual-language learners to counter what the author calls "common myths" about these students.

The brief was published by the Foundation for Child Development, a New York City-based philanthropy, and is the tenth in a series that focuses on policy recommendations for the pre-K through 3rd-grade years.

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