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Launching Young Readers: Becoming Bilingual

Launching Young Readers: Becoming Bilingual

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Price: $19.95
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For a teacher who speaks only English, having students who speak another language can be a daunting prospect. How do teachers teach English language learners (ELLs) to read in a new language?



Becoming Bilingual visits schools and programs in El Paso, Texas; Arlington, Virginia; Long Beach, California; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; and Woodburn, Oregon, to highlight the different ways schools are working to create bilingual readers. The program is divided into the following segments:

First Steps: Find out how Ms. Espinosa and her team at the Escontrias Early Childhood Center in El Paso, Texas, teach a significant number of their young learners to listen, speak, and write in English.

New Kid in Town: Watch as the Arlington Public Schools Intake Center in Arlington, Virginia helps place kids like eight-year-old Marlon, a new student from Honduras, in the right classroom.

Parents as Partners: Meet Kathy Mayer, the principal of Rachel Carson Elementary in Chicago, Illinois, who learned early on that one key to teaching young readers is getting parents involved.

Two Languages at a Time: Learn how Ms. Gonsalves gives equal time to both her native English and native Spanish speakers in her class at Webster Elementary in Long Beach, California.

Poet Francisco Alarcón: Bilingual Poet Francisco Alarcón visits Oyster Bilingual School in Washington, D.C., where he helps a group of third-grade students tap into their dreams and write poetry.

Beyond Survival English: Travel 30 miles south of Portland, Oregon to Heritage Elementary, where part of the job is teaching kids one word at a time first in their native Russian, and then in English.

A Welcoming Library: Join librarian Laura Kleinmann in the Oyster Bilingual School library, a place where English language learners can go to put everything they've learned about phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension together.


Becoming Bilingual is the seventh episode of Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers, WETA's award-winning series of innovative half-hour programs about how children learn to read, why so many struggle, and what we can do to help.

Available in DVD format.

Running time: 26 minutes


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