Developing Literacy Skills with Dual Language Learners
Ngan: Anything you want to share today? Emily, how you feel today?
Ngan (Interview): My name is Carmen Ngan. I'm the preschool teacher at Kai Ming Head Start Sunset Center. We have eighty-five percent of children come from Asian family. Most of the family don't speak English at home, so the children come here to learn English. We create an atmosphere here to make children feel more comfortable. They get support from their home language.
Ngan: They only walk.
Ngan (Interview): We would like the children to learn English. At the same time, they do not disconnect from the home language, so they can keep connection with their family, with their culture.
Ngan: What do you think would happen if you spilled milk?
Student: It would go everywhere.
Ngan: It would go everywhere. And it might look like something. Okay. Are you ready? Let's look at this. It Looked Like Spilt Milk. That's the name of the book. Can you help me to read it? Sometime it looked like spilt milk, but it wasn't spilt milk. Sometime it look like a…
Ngan: Rabbit. But it wasn't a rabbit. What is that?
Ngan and Students: Sometime it look like a tree, but it wasn't a tree.
Ngan (Interview): We will focus on the vocabulary we want the children to learn, so we will repeat it, and emphasize that.
Ngan: Sometime it look like spilt milk, but it wasn't spilt milk. What is that?
Students: A cloud!
Ngan (Interview): So first we use the book to introduce the activity.
Ngan: Have you ever seen this?
Ngan (Interview): I want to pick something that related to their real life, so they have a real life experience.
Ngan: This one is regular milk. Milk. [Chinese].
Student: How about this one?
Ngan: Yeah. How about this one? [Chinese]. Evaporated milk. [Chinese].
Student: How about this one?
Ngan: This is condensed milk. [Chinese].
Ngan (Interview): During the activity, they use the eyedropper or the straw to make artwork.
Ngan: So sometime it look like…
Ngan: A monster? But, it's not a monster.
Student: Sometimes it looks like an alien planet.
Ngan: You can see the different color. Different, huh? You can see-- Oh, tell me what you just did.
Student: I blow…
Ngan: You blow it.
Student: …and I got bubbles.
Ngan (Interview): We use open-ended question throughout the day. The goal is to enhance their thinking skill and their language skills. They develop receptive and expressive language skills.
Ngan: What is that? Sometime it look like…
Ngan: A monster. Is that a monster?
Ngan (Interview): When they're describing the artwork, I write it down in front of them about all the things they tell me. This is very important, when they can see the meaning being recorded. This strategy help children make connection between reading and spoken language.
Ngan: So, sometime it look like…
Ngan: Elephant. You just mentioned how many elephant?
Ngan: Two elephant. Sometime it look like two elephants.
Ngan (Interview): When they first start school they may not understand what we saying, however at the end of school, they fluent in English.