Dual Language Learners

Who are Dual Language Learners?

Dual language learners are children between the ages of 0-5 who are learning two or more languages at the same time, or who are learning a second language, such as English, while continuing to develop their home language. Dual Language Learners account for approximately 60 percent of California’s children. While the majority of California’s DLLs speak Spanish at home, many other languages are represented in the DLL population. The DLL population also varies in other characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, family socioeconomic status, and country of origin.

Ways to Help Your Child Expand Dual-Language Skills:

Learning more than one language builds children’s attention, problem solving, and social skills. As they grow into bilingual adults they are able to communicate with people from different backgrounds, giving them unique advantages and opportunities in school and life.
Parents and families are key to holding high expectations and supporting home language development for their dual language learners (DLLs). Families can promote positive experiences for these young children by emphasizing their strengths, including cultural and linguistic strengths. Other simple ways to help your child expand dual-language skills:

Talk. Read. Sing with the children in your life in all languages. It changes everything!

Programs supporting DLLs and families:

Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors (AP/OD) is the nation’s first evidence-based comprehensive training program developed by and for Latino parents with children ages 0-5. The program’s principle, “Building a Better Future Through Parent Leadership,” emphasizes the role of engaged parents and the impact of culture inclusion on lesson development and their children’s long-term educational outcomes. The Abriendo Puertas curriculum is currently being offered at Community Action Partnership, La Luz, Petaluma Adult School, and River to Coast Children’s Services.

Reach Out and Read is a national pediatric early literacy program that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Doctors and nurses are trained to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to give new books to children at pediatric well child visits (check-ups) from 6 months through 5 years of age, with a special focus on children growing up in poverty and medically underserved areas. By building on the unique relationship between parents and the health care team, Reach Out and Read helps families and communities encourage early literacy skills so children enter school prepared for success in reading. Remember to check with your Pediatrician at participating Santa Rosa Community Health clinics.

AVANCE is an Early Childhood Education program for parents and their children 0-3 years old. The AVANCE approach imparts parenting knowledge that directly impacts children’s development while enabling parents to achieve their own educational and professional goals. AVANCE’s renowned Parent-Child Education Program instills a philosophy of nurturing care, wellness, and language development in caregivers as they embrace their role as their child’s first teacher and their home as the first classroom. Learn more about AVANCE here.

Pasitos Playgroups for Spanish-speaking parents and their 3 and 4-year olds effectively prepare children for school success while providing parents with a social network. Culturally competent strategies for fostering positive child development and early literacy and for nurturing family relationships are modeled by family advocates. Families are linked to resources for parenting, health, nutrition, and special needs, as well as facilitated enrollment in preschool or Head Start. Learn more about Pasitos here.

Parent Cafés program is a nationally recognized peer-to-peer learning process to keep children safe and families strong. Parents and caregivers create safe spaces to explore their strengths and learn from themselves and each other how to use the Strengthening Families Protective Factors with their loved ones.

TALLK or Teachers Acquiring Language Learner Knowledge, is a program funded by First 5 Sonoma County that provides training and support to preschool teachers in specific strategies for interacting with children learning English in order to support language acquisition. https://www.scoe.org/pub/htdocs/tallk.html