Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reading in Dual Language

children's books donated by random acts of kindness

So, one unique thing about our Dual Language Program is our reading block time. We have the students grouped into their native language groups.  We feel that the students need a good basis in their primary language to learn letters and letter sounds. Then they can learn strategies to use while they are reading and they are not spending as much energy on understanding the vocabulary of what they are reading. Imagine you were given Chinese and asked to read it but you only knew a few words(orally). You will probably spend most of your time decoding(trying to sound out) what the word is and you won't understand the whole story you were reading because you spent most of your energy on reading and not on comprehension. This seems to be very successful for us and we do have children who come to us already bilingual and we then give them reading instruction in both languages. Other students are given the opportunity to learn to read in the other language when they can show competence in reading (reading with only a few errors and comprehending what they read). Our goal is to get them well on their way in reading and then introduce the other language when they have already acquired some of the basic vocabulary they need to begin reading. We know that certain skills transfer in reading(English & Spanish) like reading from left to right, top to bottom, and spacing between words. I get so excited when we get students to the point that they can get reading in the other language. Don't you wish you could speak let alone read in another language? Question for you to ponder: Is my Oral vocabulary the same as my Reading vocabulary and how does that translate into my Writing vocabulary?


  1. Wow that is amazing! I could not imagine what it would be like to try and learn a whole new language. You are doing an amazing thing with these kids!