Resources for Teaching Languages to Children


Links & Resources to Advocate for, and Educate about, Early Language Learning Programs

I AM FREQUENTLY ASKED ABOUT RESEARCH AND INFORMATION RELATED TO EARLY LANGUAGE LEARNING AND PROGRAMS, as many of us find the need to advocate for our programs and educate parents, districts and communities about the advantages for children to study a second language in preschool and elementary school, and for children to be bilingual, as well inform them on realistic expectations for their child in an #earlylang program. I thought it would be helpful to gather these together in one blog post-please let me know any I've missed and I will add them!

Links & Resources to Advocate for Early Language Learning

*NNELL: The National Network for Early Language Learning is our national advocate here in the US, with many resources for teachers and families on their website. Becoming a member means you also gain access to their journal and resources and you are able to connect with other teachers across the country.

*Lead With Languages is an advocacy initiative from ACTFL, working to educate on the importance of language learning. The link provided connects you to their rationale for early language learning; they have links for all levels so be sure to explore their site!

*ACTFL: The American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages has this advocacy page explaining the research behind language instruction

*Edutopia produced this video on the benefits of language learning for children, could be a great link for parents!

*This article from the Early Childhood Education Journal highlights the benefits of studying a foreign language on language arts & math instruction

*Ñandutí is a website dedicated to preK-8 language instruction and has several articles related to advocacy

*'Beyond the Bridge of Understanding, the Benefits of Second Language Learning' by Martha G. Abbott is an excellent article written for the American Educator.

*The European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe has a section dedicated to early language learning. You can find an additional series of links here.

*Multicultural Kids Blog has collected many resources to help parents advocate for their children being bilingual/ learning another language and being culturally connected. Here is a great set of links for the role of being bilingual.

*The State of French Education in Canada- on pages 7-8 of this report you will find the results of a research study conducted to determine whether there is interference from a second language being learnt on the first language... psst.... nope!

*Invest in FLES: this is a great article arguing the need for FLES programs in the US.

*Heidi Stock, founder of Whistlefritz, did a ton of research and compiled her findings together in this fantastic post on the benefits of being bilingual.

*Advice for homeschool families on bringing a second language to their lives, lots of great info!

*For infographics and other visual resources, I've created a section on my Pinterest board entitled ''Benefits of Learning a Language and Being Bilingual' which you can visit by clicking here.


I also find that it can be helpful when talking with families & admin to give them a better perspective on second language acquisition and what should be realistically expected from an #earlylang program. Here are some links to that end:

Stages of Language Acquisition to Help Advocate for World Language Programs in Elementary

*Stages of Language Acquisition- this outlines the five stages of language acquisition with fantastic prompts for each stage-I have used this basic concept for most of my teaching career to guide me in how I plan my lessons and flow throughout my program.

*Geared for ELL, this article from Colorín Colorado is applicable to all languages and is very informative.

*The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker is one of my all time favorite books, a terrific read for those who are interested in how the brain learns language.

*Ohio Department of Education does a FANTASTIC job of breaking down hours of instruction and expected proficiency level, including for FLES programs (meeting a minimum of 90 minutes a week). An excellent resource for educating parents!

*A breakdown of contact hours for a student to reach various proficiency levels by language-the Ohio document is more applicable to us, as this is based on specific language training, not your average public school setting, but still informative in my humble opinion as an additional resource.

*ACTFL Proficiency Standards Interpreted for Elementary-these are descriptors for Novice Low, Mid & High interpreted through the lens of elementary world language teaching, based on my observations & experiences over the course of 25+ years-can be very helpful in articulating to families what to expect at each level. 


Here are some tips on keeping your program front and center with families, admin and your community!

Again, please let me know what I've missed and I will add them! :)

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