Dual Immersion

How Do We Know It Will Work?

Research studies and established programs show the 90/10 Dual Language Immersion Model to be the most effective way to become proficient in two languages. Dr. Kathryn Lindholm Leary's cross-sectional and longitudinal study represents 7,120 students in 20 schools. Wayne Thomas and Virginia Collier's longitudinal study represents 700,000 English Learner students from five large urban and suburban districts. Results are similar: Proficiency in both languages is established and students in 90/10 programs developed higher levels of bilingual proficiency than in other program models. The focus is on bilingual/biliterate skills as an asset.

Why wait for my child to learn a second language in middle and high school?

The Critical Period Theory explains that the brain easily acquires second (and more) languages before puberty, while middle and high school foreign language programs address language learning after the onset of puberty, skipping the developmental stages of the early years and reducing the opportunities for natural language acquisition.

Will a second language interfere with my child's English ability?

No. Research done by Cummins (1981), Lambert, Genesee, Holobow and Chartrand (1993) show that students who acquire advanced levels of proficiency in two languages often experience cognitive and linguistic advantages when compared to monolingual students. Bilingual students perform better on tasks that require divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem solving, and have enhanced levels of metalinguistic awareness. (Adams, 1990)  

Do Dual Language students learn the same curriculum as the regular English Programs?

Absolutely! The standards and curriculum of Markham are the same as for all students in the Vacaville Unified School District. The only difference is the language of instruction.

Does it matter if no one at home speaks the second language?

No. English must be continually developed and supported in the home. Read to your children daily! Continue the literacy experiences you would naturally encourage. One of the advantages of this program is that students with strong English succeed well. Children often start to apply the literacy skills, which they have learned in the first language to the second language.

How will my child understand if she/he does not speak the second language?

Teachers in the Dual Language Immersion Program are specially trained to make the information meaningful through the use of visuals, objects, gestures, and specialized instructional strategies. Students also help each other.

What about reading in English?

In order to avoid confusion, the language of instruction is separated and gradually shifts from mostly Spanish to half English and half Spanish. However, please read to your child at home in English or Spanish daily, and accept any attempt to read in another language on their part.

Is any English used in the Dual Language classroom?

Both languages are used everyday in separate "Spanish Time" and "English Time" according to the program design. However, student expression is accepted in whichever language the student uses.

Can parents volunteer in the classroom if they do not speak the language being used?

Absolutely! Parent involvement is foundational to student success in this program, and the more a parent experiences the learning environment, the more he/she will know how to support their children's learning. Communication with parents is conducted in the language they understand.

How can parents support their child in the program?

Participate! Keep up the high-quality English and/or Spanish at home. Read with your child in English and/or Spanish daily. Discuss what your child is learning. Listen to him/her read. Try to learn along with your child.

When will my child become fluent in both languages?

Each child is developmentally unique, so the fluency will also develop individually. You will be informed on a regular basis of your child's oral fluency progress. You will also be informed regularly of your child's academic progress. Keeping the communication line between you and your child's teacher is the best resource to find out how well your child is doing.

What are the student outcomes in English?

Students in the Dual Language immersion program have the same standards and expectations as all students in the Vacaville Unified School District. Oral and academic proficiency in English and Spanish are based on the California Common Core Standards and the English Language Development Standards.

CDE Two-Way Language Immersion Program FAQ

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