Top 10 Things You Can Do to Support Your Child's Language Development:
1. Understand why your child was classified as an English Language Learner and why it's important.
Take a look at "How my child was classified as ELL" to understand how your child was established as an English Language Learner and the process to becoming reclassified as a Redesignated Fluent English Proficient (RFEP).2. Understand the importance of reclassification towards your child’s success.
Getting your child to reclassify from an ELL to a RFEP gives your child more opportunity. RFEP students are less likely to drop out of school because they can participate more in grade-level content classes. English proficiency allows for greater confidence in classroom participation. Furthermore, when students are reclassified, they no longer are required to take English Language Development classes which means they can fully participate in all available academies, career pathways and college bound programs, and enroll in more subjects that earn credit for high school graduation and college entry.
3. Find a language program that is the best fit for your child, based on the language goals you set for your child.
Different language programs have different goals: some focus on accelerating language development for Long Term English Learners, while others are focused on developing bilingual and biliterate students. Think about what is most important for your family and choose the best program for your child’s needs. Learn about our language programs here and enroll them in a school that will provide the specific supports they need to reach their language goals.4. Communicate with your child's teacher about your child's language development and set goals for them to become reclassified.
Talk to your child's teacher and use the ELL Snapshot to understand where your child is at and what he/she needs to do to be reclassified. Talk about problems you've noticed, progress that's been made and ask your child’s teacher about how to best support your child’s learning. Read about questions that you can ask your child's teacher to make sure your child is progressing in his/her language development.
5. Connect with your school and the Oakland Unified School District through parent engagement forums to make sure your needs and the needs of your child are met.
Being engaged with your child's school and the district through LCAP, the District English Language Learner Subcommittee, Site ELL subcommittees, and other engagement opportunities ensures your voice is heard. These opportunities allow you to shape the direction of your child's language option by advocating for services and programs your child needs. Read more about Parent Engagement Opportunities here!6. Language is an important part of one’s culture and identity. Being bilingual can be a strong source of pride, and is an asset and a huge advantage in today's economy.
Find ways for your child to bring his/her home culture and language into school projects and discussions. Encourage your child to read and write in your home language. Books in different languages can be found on Amazon.com and other online book retailers as well as your school’s or city’s public library.7. Have fun with language! "Read" wordless picture books, and tell stories to children.
Wordless picture books tell stories through pictures. This can be a fun way for parents and children to sit down together with books and talk about stories. Children can learn how stories progress, make predictions, and develop a love for books. By telling stories, parents are developing their children's vocabulary and oral language skills. Parents can also encourage children to add to stories or make up their own. You can also play games where you think of words in one language and your child has to think of the same word in the other language.8. Help your child to focus on understanding of books by attaching meaning to the words they read. This is an essential aspect of oral language development.
Encourage your child to read and read again, in your home language and in English. Ask them about the meaning behind what they read, and what they thought about what they read. For example, you can ask them: “What did you like about this story? Who was your favorite person in the story? Did you like the ending?”9. Read to your child in your home language and encourage your child to read books for fun at their independent level.
If they are not yet at an age where they can read yet, it is important to read to them starting at an early age. If you don't feel confident in reading to them in English, it is equally important to read to them in your home language. Language development is universal, so developing their language in their native language actually helps develop their ability to acquire other languages as well... It's based on science!10. Build a language-rich environment at home.
When children never hear their home language after they begin school then they begin to lose that language. Bilingual people have more options in our world so encouraging your child to be bilingual will only benefit them. While we encourage children to become bilingual and biliterate in an academic setting through our Dual Language Programs, there are ways in which you can support this in your home. Having books in both languages and sharing ideas/opinions in the home language will help your child build fluency and literacy. Above all don't make your child feel embarrassed or ashamed of either language.References: