7) Home language development

What can I do to encourage home language development if I don’t speak the home language of all the Multilingual Learners in my classroom?

Resource Guide: FAQ Guide for Program Directors and Administrators

This resource guide offers answers to some of the most common questions that come up about literacy instruction for Multilingual Learners. Assessment, the "science of reading," use of home language(s), and curriculum decisions are some of the topics covered in this guide.
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Video: Helping with Homework (Parent-Child Relationship)

This is an example of a parent and a child working on a project at home together. Later the child will bring the project to school and share it with peers and the teacher to connect home-based learning to school-based learning.
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Video: Brand New Words—Teacher Competencies

This is a video clip of three Multilingual Learners helping their teacher speak Chinese.
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Video: The Joy of Reading—First Language Development

This video provides helpful examples of parents reading and discussing books with their children, and an example discussion about reading in home languages between a teacher and a group of parents.
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Video: Soyul & Teacher Yvette—Beginning a New Language

This video is a series of excerpts from the first months of preschool for Soyul, a Korean-speaking Multilingual Learner. The video showcases instructional moves that the teacher, Yvette, makes to teach English language development during Soyul's initial silent period.
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Video: Dr. Linda Espinosa—A Commentary on Brand New Words

In this video, Dr. Linda Espinosa reminds teachers that when Multilingual Learners are acquiring new languages, they also must learn how to make new sounds. Video clips show a bilingual teacher working on this phonological awareness with children, and allowing them to share the expertise of their home language.
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Video: The Stages of Preschool Second Language Acquisition

In this video, the term the four stages of second language development for early education are described and then exemplified through teaching vignettes between one teacher and one Korean-speaking Multilingual Learner.
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Video & Video Guide: Adventures in Preschool Second Language Acquisition

This video showcases the relationship between one teacher and one Korean-speaking Multilingual Learner and her family. The video includes vignettes of teaching, interviews with the teacher, the family, and administrators, and many rich examples of English development teaching strategies. The accompanying guide suggests moments in the video to pause to notice teachers’ practice, along with prompts for reflection and discussion.
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Strategy Overview: 6 Ways Educators Can Overcome Language Barriers with Parents

This overview includes numerous ideas for educators who have difficulty communicating with parents of children who speak languages other than English. Resources are shared about how teachers and parents can connect, specific strategies are named, and data graphics share information about the types of activities in which parents are most likely to participate.
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Blog Series: Teaching For Biliteracy as a Monolingual English Speaker

This series includes 25 blog posts that speak to what the monolingual teacher can do to support biliteracy in the classroom. Topics covered include specific strategies, advocacy, collaboration, and intentionally bridging languages to support the language and content transfer of Multilingual Learners.
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Article: The Bridge Between Languages

This article introduces the term "the bridge" as the purposeful work to connect, compare, contrast, and transition between languages in lessons and activities for Multilingual Learners. Examples and instructional tips are shared.
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Website Article: Early Literacy Instruction in Spanish

This article is a research overview for teachers about the early literacy development of Spanish-speaking children. The content covers stages of literacy development, explicitly notes the differences in reading instruction between English and Spanish, and includes some example literacy strategies and tips for parents.
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Article: Tips for Communicating with Non-English-Speaking Parents

Teachers who only speak English may have a difficult time communicating with non-English-speaking parents. This article offers six simple tips to help connect with parents of all students, regardless of the language they speak.
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Strategy Overview: Ensuring the Presence of Each Child’s Language

This resource provides a comprehensive list and explanation of the actions teachers can take to acknowledge, affirm, and support multiple languages in the classroom. Included are tips for engaging with families as "language experts" and capturing their linguistic knowledge on a planning template, and phrase cards with basic greetings in 10 common home languages.
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Website Article: Family Dichos – Bringing the Language of Home into the Classroom

Bringing proverbs and sayings or "dichos" into the classroom is an instructional move to bridge family language and culture into classroom learning. This article describes this practice and provides resources on familiar "dichos."
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Website Article: The Right to Be Seen

In this article, an English Language Development teacher shares a vignette about a recent newcomer joining her school community. The author reminds educators of the asset-based lens that helps support newly arrived Multilingual Learners and their families.
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Video: Model Curriculum for English Learners – Weathering and Erosion (3rd grade)

A multilingual teacher uses numerous supports in English, Spanish, and Portuguese to develop the content understandings of beginner Multilingual Learners.
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Website Article: How School Leaders New to Working with ELLs Can Partner with Families – 10 Strategies for Success

This article shares practical tips, along with video explanations and additional links to explore, that administrators can use to support Multilingual Learners and their families.
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Blog: 6 Strategies to Elevate the Status of Bilingualism

This blog post offers practical ideas to highlight the benefits and strengths of bilingualism in a school community.
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Guide: Selecting and Using Culturally Appropriate Children’s Books in Languages Other than English

This resource provides guidance on how to select culturally appropriate children’s books in Multilingual Learners’ home languages and how to share those books with children and their families. This guide also provides ideas for sharing books in languages that are not familiar to teachers and links to other book lists and digital libraries.
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Tip Sheet: Inviting and Supporting Cultural Guides and Home Language Models

Cultural guides and home language models are people who can help make Multilingual Learners (MLs) and families feel welcome as they adjust to new environments. This resource explains how to identify and include cultural guides and home language models in the classroom to support MLs.
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Tip Sheet: Including Children’s Home Languages and Cultures

This resource includes tips for teachers to ensure that the home languages and cultures of Multilingual Learners (MLs) are included in the classroom environment and experiences, even if teachers do not speak the MLs' home languages. Tips include learning key phrases in children’s home languages, inviting families into the classroom, and incorporating cultural traditions in the classroom experiences.
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Website Article: Adapting Morning Meeting Greeting for English Learners

Morning meetings are a common part of the instructional day. This article offers strategies on how to make Multilingual Learners feel welcome and included, along with activity ideas that draw on students' linguistic diversity.
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Website Article: The Home Language-An English Language Learner’s Most Valuable Resource

This article offers a review of research and policy that supports home language development, and covers numerous strategies that teachers can use to support home language use in the classroom.
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Educator Toolkit: My Name, My Identity- Creating an Inclusive and Respectful School Community

This digital book supports the socio-emotional learning of students by introducing example lesson plans that center on Multilingual Learners' identity. The resource includes videos, book lists, lesson plans, and many extension activities and further resources to help teachers build a healthy, asset-based community in the classroom.
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Blog: A Chat About English/Spanish Pedagogical Connections

This blog offers a quick review of pedagogical connections between English and Spanish. Teachers can make linguistic connections visible for Spanish-speaking Multilingual Learners, and set them up to draw on all of their language resources for learning that they are familiar with, particularly on the differences and similarities between the two language structures.
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Strategy Overview: Use of Multiple Languages in the Classroom

In a bilingual classroom, or even when teachers do not speak the home language(s) of Multilingual Learners, there are many things the teacher can do to invite home languages into the classroom. This overview suggests the steps teachers can take to draw on all of their students' linguistic resources during instruction.
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Blog: ELL Students’ Home Language is an Asset, Not a “Barrier”

In this blog, numerous teachers share their thinking on why home languages are an asset to acknowledge and celebrate in the classroom. Additional links and resources are available to help teachers know how to draw on students' knowledge in their home languages, and structure activities that support Multilingual Learners' language development.
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Website: Teacher Interactions and Strategies to Support Speaking for Dual Language Learners

This resource provides a list of strategies that teachers can use to support Multilingual Learners’ speaking skills. For example: Repeating and elaborating on children’s talk, reinforcing words from the unit of study, using visual cues and gestures, and providing MLs with more time to process speech.
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Website: Teacher Interactions and Strategies to Support Listening for Dual Language Learners

This resource provides a list of strategies teachers can use to support Multilingual Learners’ listening skills, such as using visual cues and gestures to accompany speech. Teachers can integrate reading, writing, listening, and speaking in both languages. Teachers can also introduce key vocabulary in the home language prior to teaching in English.
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Blog: How Can Cognates ‘Beneficiar’ English Language Learners?

This blog discusses how teachers can intentionally use cognates to build comprehension for Multilingual Learners. This practice helps emphasize connections between Spanish and English.
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Website Article: Using Cognates with ELLs

This article and accompanying video remind teachers about the power of cognates: words that are almost or exactly the same in two or more languages. When teachers highlight these words during instruction, they help Multilingual Learners develop their own word-learning strategies.
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App: Ready DLL

This mobile app is a comprehensive resource that teachers can use to support Multilingual Learners. It includes specific guidance on including labels and other functional print in both languages, engaging in interactive reading, and integrating reading, writing, listening, and speaking in multiple languages. The app also helps teachers learn key words and phrases in children’s home languages (Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, and Haitian Creole), and provides links to articles, tip sheets, videos, and webinars.
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Lesson Plan: Comprehension Strategies for English Learners

This is a five-day lesson plan focused on building reading comprehension skills with Multilingual Learners. Lessons are structured to incorporate discussion, critical thinking skills, and incorporate numerous language-based supports.
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Website Article: Reading 101 for English Learners

This article names specific components of literacy instruction that can be more challenging for Multilingual Learners. Instructional strategies for teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension are shared.
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Strategy Overview: Supporting Bilingualism

Research has proven that the strongest foundation for academic success and high levels of literacy for Multilingual Learners is the development of both their home language and English. This overview describes strategies that schools, teachers, and families can use to support multilingualism.
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Video & Video Guide: Integrated Thematic Unit – 3rd Grade

This video provides a rich opportunity to look inside a classroom and note the intentional supports for English language and literacy development embedded in a thematic unit of study. The teacher implements a Daily 5 structure, which allows Multilingual Learners to learn both academic language and content across multiple modalities and learning activities. The accompanying guide suggests moments in the video to pause to notice teachers’ practice, along with prompts for reflection and discussion.
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Strategy Overview: Si Se Puede

Si Se Puede is a set of strategies to elevate Multilingual Learners' perception of the status of their home language, countering the messages learners often receive about English dominance.
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Parent Letter: Start of Theme (Spanish)

These letters can be sent home to families to announce upcoming topics in classroom thematic units. They prepare families to connect content learning to home experiences, and offer the opportunity to invite parents to share experiences or artifacts that relate to the themes.
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Parent Letter: Start of Theme (English)

These letters can be sent home to families to announce upcoming topics in classroom thematic units. They prepare families to connect content learning to home experiences, and offer the opportunity to invite parents to share experiences or artifacts that relate to the themes.
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Video: Key Points of Home Language Preview and Review

This resource explains how educators can engage families in previewing and reviewing books with Multilingual Learners. Teachers can provide families with books to preview at home to connect curriculum with learning at home. Teachers can invite families and other speakers of the home language to come to classrooms to share books in their home languages.
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Video: Monolingual Provider Preview and Review

In this video, a teacher explains how monolingual English-speaking teachers can support Multilingual Learners. The teacher previews books with children, uses props and tangible materials, and provides parents and other speakers of the home language with books and materials for them to use with children.
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Template: Thinking about Home Language Support

This resource helps teachers and administrators think about the staff and/or community members that serve as language models for Multilingual Learners. Language models can integrate the home language(s) and English and join classroom activities to speak and read in children’s home languages.
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Video: Personalizing Instruction through Environmental Supports

This resource explains several ways that teachers can provide high-quality language support materials. For example, teachers can display culturally relevant materials and labels in each language. Teachers can also learn key words and phrases in children’s home languages, including cognates, to emphasize the connection between English and the home language.
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Video: Supporting Home Language through Language Models

This video discusses how "language models" can support Multilingual Learners by integrating English and the home language(s) into classroom activities and conversations throughout the day. Parents and other speakers of children’s home languages can join classroom activities to support children’s development of multiple languages. Language models can provide high-quality and extended talk in each language, including a variety of questions to elicit talk from children.
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