Dual Language Learners: Five Tips for Parents

Parents with limited English proficiency have heard different messages about the language-learning needs of their children. Some believe that speaking to their children in their native language may hold them back from learning English or confuse them as they enter preschool and kindergarten. While mastery of English is important for success in school, research is showing that being fluent in more than one language can actually contribute to academic success.

In fact, exposing children to lots of words early on, regardless of the language, is the best way to prepare them for the future.

Parents or caregivers who do not speak English, but who are eager for their children to thrive in the American educational system, can benefit from this new research. Tips from the research include:

  1. Talk, read, sing, and play with your child often - in both your native language as well as other languages you know.
  2. Know that if you speak a language other than English at home, it's normal for your child to start out slowly learning English. With time and attention, they'll math their peers.
  3. Be proud.
  4. Visit your public library as often as you can.
  5. Follow-up classroom or caregiver learning by reading and conversing with your child in your preferred language.