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Research-Based Facts about Young English Language Learners. Dr. Mary Abbott and Liesl Edwards Parent Meeting Presentation Friday September 12, 2008. Information in this presentation is available for noncommercial use only. You may use the information provided that:

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Research-Based Facts about Young English Language Learners

Dr. Mary Abbott and Liesl Edwards

Parent Meeting Presentation

Friday September 12, 2008

Information in this presentation is available for noncommercial use only. You may use the information provided that:

(a) you do not modify or delete any content;

(b) you do not redistribute content without identifying the website and author as the source of content;

(c) the use of content does not suggest that our ERF project promotes or endorses any third party causes, ideas, Web sites, products or services.

For additional permission requests, please contact

Dr. Mary Abbott, mabbott@ku.edu


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This presentation is based on the article: Language Learners

Challenging Common Myths about Young English Language Learners

By Dr. Linda Espinosa University of Missouri

Foundation for Child Development - Policy Brief Advancing PK-3 #8 January 2008


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All young children are capable of learning two languages Language Learners

  • Becoming bilingual has benefits that are life-lasting.

    • Thinking skills

    • Academic performance

    • Social skills

    • Cultural knowledge

    • Economic benefits


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Primary Language Support Language Learners

  • The 0-3 years are critical for language development to learn sounds, structure, and functions of language

  • Young ELL children require continued home primary language support

  • Parents should continue to speak to their children at home in the primary language.


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Type of instruction Language Learners

  • Dual language programs improve academic achievement for ELL children.

  • Teachers need to adopt good methods to support home language .

  • ERF has an ELL policy.


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On to Kindergarten Language Learners

  • Hispanic Spanish-speaking children go to Kindergarten with many social strengths that result from positive parenting practices.


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Parents value education Language Learners

  • Hispanic parents value high-quality early education


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Second Language Learners Language Learners

  • Learning a new language does not happen immediately. It happens in stages. The speed at which the new language is learned depends on:

    • Prior knowledge of language and its uses

      • Discovering what new language is

    • Age

      • Cognitive abilities and challenges

    • Riskier task

      • Personality factors


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Four Stages of Learning a Language Language Learners

  • Home Language Use

  • Nonverbal

  • Telegraphic/Formulaic Speech

  • Productive Language Use


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Home Language Use Language Learners

  • Child continues to attempt to communicate in their home language

    • Older children tend to recognize ineffective attempts quickly

    • Younger children may continue home language use for several months


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Nonverbal Language Learners

  • Children recognize they can not communicate in home language and stop talking

    • May continue attempts at communication nonverbally– facial expressions, gestures

  • This stage may also be called the observational or listening stage


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Telegraphic/Formulaic Speech Language Learners

  • Children begin using new language in limited ways

    • Telegraphic speech- using one or two words in place of a sentence

    • Formulaic speech- using observed phrases in similar situations


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Productive Language Use Language Learners

  • Children learn enough vocabulary to begin building their own sentences

    • Children may still be learning the structure of the language and experimenting with sentence construction

  • Productive Language use is not the same as proficient language use

    • Social vs Academic English


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Cumulative Process Language Learners

  • Children do not move discretely through stages

  • Continue to build on previous strategies as skills develop


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Individual Differences Language Learners

  • Factors

    • Home Language skills

    • Motivation

    • Exposure- quality and quantity

    • Age

    • Personality