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Fact Sheets | | Early Edge California

Resources for Supporting Dual Language Learners

Dual Language Learners (DLLs) are children birth to age five who come from homes where a language other than English is spoken. DLLs are a large and growing majority of California’s students, representing 60% of children birth to five in the state.

Below are resources to support teachers and administrators in meeting the needs of DLLs and engaging with their families.

1. Infant/Toddler Resources

2. Preschool Resources

3. Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Resources

4. Early Childhood Educator Competencies Resource

5. Child Assessment Resources

6. Parent Engagement Resources

7. Websites

8. Technology-Based Resources

9. Online/In-Person Training Resources

10. Policies That Impact Practice

11. Research Resources

1. Infant/Toddler Resources

Infant/Toddler Caregiving: A Guide to Culturally Sensitive Care, Second Edition (2013) addresses culturally responsive practices in early care settings.

Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Program Guidelines (2006) presents information about how to provide high-quality early care and education, including specific recommendations for working with DLLs.

2. Preschool Resources

Preschool English Learners: Principles and Practices to Promote Language, Literacy, and Learning (2009) is a resource containing information on how to support the language development of dual language learners during the preschool years.

Preschool Learning Foundations (2010) outlines key knowledge and skills most children can achieve at different ages when provided with the kinds of interactions, instruction, and environments research has shown to promote early learning and development, including English-language development. The English-language development foundations are specifically designed for children entering preschool who speak a home language other than English.

Preschool Curriculum Frameworks (2010) are a companion to the Preschool Learning Foundations and offer strategies for ECE educators in all of the domains outlined in the frameworks, including English-language development.

>California Preschool Program Guidelines (2015) contains a chapter that specifically addresses research-based program approaches and practices that best support the learning and development of young DLLs.

Chapter 4: Practical and Proven Strategies for Teaching Young DLLs from Dr. Linda Espinosa’s book, Getting it Right for Young Children from Diverse Backgrounds: Applying Research To Improve Practice with a Focus on Dual Language Learners, 2nd. Edition. This chapter contains family engagement and classroom strategies, including Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) strategies.

3. Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Resources

Transitional Kindergarten Implementation Guide: A Resource for California Public School District Administrators and Teachers (2013) offers resources and guidance in the areas of program design, curriculum, instruction, and family/community partnerships, including specific strategies to support DLLs.

4. Early Childhood Educator Competencies Resource

California Early Childhood Educator Competencies (2011) provides comprehensive descriptions of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that early childhood educators need to support young children’s learning and development in different areas, including Dual-Language Development.

5. Child Assessment Resources

CDE has developed the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP), a tool for assessing children’s development in eight developmental domains, including language. Each of the three DRDP tools include considerations and guidelines for assessing young DLLs. The following three tools are available online, each targeting a specific age range:

  • DRDP Infant/Toddler (2015), which is for use with infants and toddlers from infancy to 36 months and aligned with the California Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Foundations. An entirely Chinese version of the tool is also available, as well as a Spanish language resource.
  • DRDP Preschool (2015), which is for use with children ages 36 months until Kindergarten entry and aligned with the California Preschool Learning Foundations. Both entirely Chinese and Spanish versions of the tool are also available.
  • DRDP-K (2015), which is for use with children in TK and Kindergarten.

6. Parent Engagement Resources

Family Partnerships and Culture: Best Practices for Planning Curriculum for Young Children (2016), developed by CDE, is a resource that provides early childhood education program administrators and teachers with guidance on practices that support the development of partnerships with families and inclusion of children’s cultural experiences as essential parts of planning curriculum.

Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors, is a parent engagement and education curriculum, available in both Spanish and English, that promotes school readiness, family well-being and advocacy by addressing best practices in brain development, key aspects of early childhood development, early literacy and numeracy, bilingualism, health, attendance, civic engagement, parent leadership, goal setting, and planning for family success.

The Latino Family Literacy Project provides professional development programs specifically around parent involvement for teachers of DLLs and ELs. The literacy programs and training workshops are designed to establish family reading routines for Spanish-speaking and English-speaking parents and their children. There are several age-specific programs: infant & toddler, preschool, elementary, and middle & high school.

7. Websites

The Head Start Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) contains a wealth of resources on a variety of different ECE-related topics. It has a Dual Language Learners Toolkit, which provides resources that can be used to support DLLs in both their home language and English. The resources are divided by audience: administrators and managers; teachers, caregivers, and family services staff; and families.

Colorín Colorado offers a wealth of bilingual, research-based information, activities, and advice for educators and families of DLLs and English learners through its Spanish-English bilingual website.

Teaching At The Beginning generates free video resources for instructors, directors, and teachers who work with young DLLs through their website and YouTube channel. These visual tools showcase the teacher-child dynamic, peer-peer interaction, parent and family engagement, and the stages of second language acquisition.

Zero to Three offers several educator as well as parent resources related to supporting DLLs and their development, including articles, books, and trainings through their website.

8. Technology-Based Resources

ABCMouse is a full online curriculum developed for children ages two through eight in the areas of reading, math, science, and art and is available in both English and Spanish. Content and activities are separated by age level: Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten.

Footsteps2Brilliance is a comprehensive curriculum that contains interactive books, songs, and games that can be read in either English or Spanish for children from birth through third grade.

Highlights for Children offers online books and accompanying audio in both Spanish and English for children ages 2 to 6 through their Highlights High Five Bilingüe program. They are intended for use by teachers in classroom settings (including Family Child Care contexts), as well as parents.

Ana Lomba’s Spanish for Kids: The Red Hen (Bilingual Spanish-English Story), is a free storytelling app with accompanying lesson plans, and teaches children four and up to speak in either Spanish or English.

What Do I Wear – Touch, Look and Listen is a visual dictionary app for children ages 2-4 developed by StoryToys that introduces early learners to over 65 types of clothing through multiple languages, including English, Dutch, Chinese, French, and Spanish.

9. Online/In-Person Training Resources

PD2GO, First 5 California’s online professional development website, contains a series of 15-minute professional development modules. The site contains DLL-specific content focused on: systems supports, enhancing interactions, and assessment.

Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners developed online training modules on the topic of Dialogic Reading for Teachers of DLLs for professionals working in culturally and linguistically diverse ECE and TK settings.

Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) PreK-3 Model is designed as a comprehensive model of intensive, enriched language and literacy education designed for Dual/English learners, starting in preschool and continuing through third grade.

The Fresno Language Project, which is a part of the Starting Smart and Strong campaign, works to ensure all children, including DLLs, have a strong early language foundation upon entering kindergarten. The project is aimed at educators and administrators of infants/toddlers, as well as preschoolers, and centers around professional development and coaching.

Preschool GLAD: Guided Language Acquisition Design, is based on the original Project GLAD, and offers research-based strategies for creating a language-rich setting that is alive with words, aloud with language, and results in language-rich learning.

The California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN) offers low-cost training to preschool teachers and administrators statewide highlighting current research-based information, resources, and effective instructional practices, including DLL-specific training.

WestEd offers on-site and online training options related to serving the needs of DLLs/ELs, with programs specific to infant/toddler care, early childhood in general (i.e., children zero to 5), Pre-K-specific, and K-12.

10. Policies That Impact Practice

The California English Learner Roadmap: Strengthening Comprehensive Educational Policies, Programs, and Practices for English Learners (EL Roadmap), a policy adopted by the California Board of Education on July 12, 2017 that seeks to strengthen comprehensive educational policies, programs, and practices for English Learners across California from early childhood through 12th grade. The CDE published a guide that highlights evidence-based practices, promising models, exemplary services, and effective inclusion of federal and state legal requirements for serving English learners Pre-K through 12th grade.

Proposition 58 was overwhelmingly passed by California voters on the November 8, 2016 ballot. Proposition 58 repealed bilingual education restrictions enacted by Proposition 227 in 1998 and has opened doors for districts across the state to allow non-English languages to be used in public educational instruction.

The State Seal of Biliteracy adopted by the state of California in 2011, is an award given by a school, school district or county office of education in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. In addition to the State Seal of Biliteracy, schools and districts are also instituting Bilingual Pathway Awards, recognizing significant steps towards developing biliteracy along a student’s trajectory from preschool through high school.

Global California 2030, established by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in 2018. Goals include: more than tripling the number of students who receive the State Seal of Biliteracy, quadrupling the number of dual immersion programs that teach languages besides English, and more than doubling the number of new bilingual teachers authorized in world language classes by 2030.

A Policy Statement of Supporting the Development of Children Who are Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Programs was released in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education. The policy statement aims to support early childhood programs and States by providing recommendations that promote the development and learning of young children, birth to age five, who are DLLs.

California’s Gold: An Advocacy Framework for Young Dual Language Learners (2017), which was developed by Marlene Zepeda, a leader and expert in the field of DLL research, offers near-term and longer-term policy, advocacy, and partnership opportunities in four actions areas: workforce development, curriculum & instruction, assessment, and Pre-K through third grade systems alignment.

11. Research Resources

Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English:  Promising Futures (2017), released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The report examines what research evidence reveals about learning English from early childhood through high school and identifies effective practices for educators to use with DLLs and ELs.

California’s Best Practices for Young Dual Language Learners: Research Overview Papers (2013) provides information on the current research for supporting the development of young DLLs in the following areas: 1) Neuroscience research: how experience with one or more languages affects the developing brain; 2) Cognitive consequences of dual language learning; 3) Program elements and teaching practices to support young DLLs; 4) Family engagement in early childhood programs; 5) Assessment of young DLLs in preschool; and 6) Early intervention and young DLLs with special needs.

Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications (2018), a national report released by Migration Policy Institute (MPI), which explores the diversity within the DLL population at the national, state, and local level, and the need to identify what works well for DLLs in superdiverse settings (i.e., where multiple languages and cultures are represented).

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