Dual Language Learners Deserve Research-Backed Resources

With more districts and states requiring equity in quality of materials and many are making more funding available, educators serving Dual Language Learners and English Language Learners have incredible opportunities this school year to get students back on track or help students build on the progress they have made.

For a school year like no other, educators, librarians, and caregivers are looking to research findings to find the best strategies in meeting the needs of their incoming Dual Language Learners.

As of 2019, 23% of children speak a language other than English at home in the U.S. Depending on where you serve children, this number can be significantly higher. For example, 60% of children under five in California speak a language other than English at home.

Here are three resources for meeting the needs of Dual Language Learners and the research behind them.

Dual Language Learner Bookroom

Diverse Leveled Bookrooms from Bebop Books, an imprint of Lee and Low Books text against blue backgroundThe Bebop Books Dual Language Learner Bookroom is customizable and titles are hand-selected to ensure your students have access to hundreds of award-winning, culturally responsive, contemporary books at the levels they need.

What does the research say?

Studies show when students of color are explicitly taught with and exposed to books centering race, culture, celebrating BIPOC joy, and tackling racism, student outcomes improve in engagement, academic achievement, and attendance levels.

Reading Recovery® Descubriendo la Lectura collection

Descubriendo la Lectura (DLL) Bebop Books collection bring more equity, inclusion, and diversity into Spanish classroom libraries. Titles have been field-tested and officially analyzed by certified Reading Recovery® / DLL teachers and can be found in the current approved book list published by Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA)

What does the research say?

What Works Clearinghouse has reviewed first-year results from a national randomized controlled trial of Descubriendo La Lectura.

Key Findings:

The study, including 142 students in three states, showed “Statistically significant positive effects found” in Alphabetics, General Literacy Achievement, and Reading Fluency outcomes, with Improvement Index scores ranging from 31 to 36 on the Spanish assessments.

Journal Article: Addressing Literacy Needs of Struggling Spanish-Speaking First Graders: First-Year Results from a National Randomized Controlled Trial of Descubriendo La Lectura

Early Literacy Curriculum for Dual Language Learners

El sol del verano book cover on top of pile of cards with text COLLTSCOLLTS from The Center for English Learners at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) releases its newest curriculum for PREK/TK learners

What does the research say?

In 2019, COLLTS was used in treatment classrooms to support Dual language learners’ (DLLs’) oral language development. The intervention consisted of teacher professional development; curricular materials that guided teachers in principles of effective instruction; interactive book reading, in which children are exposed to language-rich settings; and targeted skills instruction to build foundational literacy skills.

Key Findings:

  • Children who participated in the intervention showed significantly larger gains than children in control classrooms in three domains of oral language. These domains have consistently been shown to be developmentally sensitive and positively related to the bilingual reading achievement of DLLs.
  • The study demonstrates that an intervention can be easily integrated into preschool programming and result in significant improvements in children’s oral language, compared with children in control classrooms whose teachers did not receive COLLTS curriculum and training.

Journal Article: Developing Oral Language in Young Dual Language Learners, Cultivating Oral Language and Literacy Talent in Students (COLLTS)

Additional resources:

FREE Recursos en español para educadores y familias from Lee & Low Books
10 Best Strategies for Reading to Kids in Spanish from Spanish Playground
Popular Latinx collections from Lee & Low Books

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