English Language Learners

Published: June 23, 2008
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Head Start programs are experiencing steady increases in the number of enrolled families and children whose home languages are other than English. About 29 percent of the Head Start children nationwide speak a language other than English in the home. The Head Start Program Performance Standards require that classroom environments be structured to support each child’s cultural pride and home languages. Researchers at the ninth Head Start Research Conference (HSNRC) reported on various methods to facilitate bilingual language development by dual language learners. Areas of research explored included the pathways that young second-language learners take to understand and use their newly developed languages; activities that early childhood educators can incorporate into their classrooms to support these students and their families; cohort results of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES; 1997, 2000, 2003); effects of professional development on teaching practices related to language and literacy learning; and the styles and effects of shared bookreading in dual language learner families. Also, several studies explored the relationship between oral language use, phonological awareness and language development for both English and Spanish.

Head Start's 9th National Research Conference

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