Dual Language Learners often arrive in your class with working knowledge of Tier I English words, that is, words commonly used during daily communication. However, their knowledge of Tier II and Tier III English words is often not well developed. You need to intentionally plan to teach words that are typically found in books (Tier II) and those that apply to specific learning domains (Tier III). Introduce and reinforce vocabulary ways that speak to the child’s culture and experiences. Many Dual Language Learners have home backgrounds the are collective where the family or group is extremely important. Think about how this knowledge can shape your classroom teaching. For example, select an activity from your Teacher Toolbox that encourages learning through meaningful social interactions such as APL1.4c: A Trip to the Moon. Read Curious George and the Rocket by H.A. Rey. Select Tier II and Tier III words such as curious, professor, clever, scientists, parachute, brave, launch site, bail and “out of the blue.” Teach these new words and design center activities that reinforce this vocabulary. Encourage your children to use these words as they plan and implement their own space adventures. Keep in mind, that the benefits of learning English are enhanced by encouraging Dual Language Learners to use their home language in the classroom.
This is the last of four posts in a series submitted by Linda Snead-Sanders. Browse through previous posts to find other entries about dual language learners!