Literacy and Bilingualism: A Handbook for All Teachers

Synopsis

This handbook applies proven techniques, derived from bilingual/bicultural classrooms, to teaching literacy in the 21st century. Its goal is to help teachers increase their understanding of bilingual learners in order to maximize instruction. Teachers can use this handbook to:

• Expand their understanding of literacy and bilingualism

• Implement literacy approaches and assess students' development

• Learn through reflection

Features:
Practical, flexible format and content. Complete and straightforward instructions, illustrated by case studies, allow teachers to use the strategies in this handbook on their own or in teacher-led study groups. They can select from the variety of approaches the ones which best match their students' needs and their own teaching style.

Student-centered focus. All of the approaches share characteristics that help motivate students of varying language abilities to develop literacy. They:

• Encourage students' creativity

• Tap on students' knowledge as the basis for learning

• Allow for students to regulate the degree of difficulty

• Support functional uses of language

• Reinforce all language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and their integration in teaching literacy

• Include engaging activities

• Invite student interaction and active participation

• Practice skills in meaningful contexts

Field-tested approaches. The approaches have been modified and tested with bilingual students of different ages and language backgrounds in bilingual, ESL, mainstream, special education, and deaf education classes ranging from preschool through high school. What has been learned about how to motivate students to acquire literacy in either their native or second languages is described and made readily available to other teachers.