Karen Nemeth responded to a selection of questions and comments during an online event from August 6–10, 2012. Read the Q&A below!
Did you know that any child under the age of 6 years who speaks a language other than English at home can be considered a dual language learner (DLL)? Research shows that supporting each child’s home language while also supporting his learning of English can lead to greater success in school. Early childhood educators across the country are looking for new and effective ideas to welcome and teach young DLLs while also involving and engaging their families.
My book Basics of Supporting Dual Language Learners: An Introduction for Educators of Children from Birth through Age 8 provides a basic understanding of key points all early educators need to know. This online discussion gives you the opportunity to tailor the strategies from the book to directly meet the needs you have in your work. For example, you might ask questions or share your suggestions about
- Taking a look at what your program is doing specifically to prepare bilingual staff on how to use their language assets in your classrooms and how that might be improved
- Addressing concerns that supervisors or coaches might have about observing their staff that speak different languages
- Finding specific materials for the languages in your particular classroom or program
- Locating free or inexpensive options for obtaining materials that reflect the languages and cultures of your program
- Sharing ideas for meeting different language needs through developmentally appropriate websites, software, or mobile apps
- Adapting activities that could work with the curriculum you are using
- Helping you build better relationships with families who speak different languages
- Trying creative ways to get your diverse families involved and engaged in your program
This format is a wonderful way for you to get specific answers to questions that apply directly to your own work. By sharing your questions, you will give all readers a chance to think about the opportunities and challenges we face when we work with children who speak different languages. Together we will develop a shared understanding of what programs need to know and do to get ready for a school year that is filled with the celebration of diversity.
This is your chance to get the answers you need before the school year starts. I look forward to sharing with you!
— Karen Nemeth