Emergent bilingual students are students who are developing skills in their native language while learning a new, second language. Additionally, this term is used in place of terms such as Limited English Proficient (LEP), English Language Learners (ELLs), and English as a Second Language (ESL) students, which don’t accurately describe this student population. Emergent bilinguals are on their way to forming balanced bilingualism skills. While learning English in the school setting, parents can strengthen their children’s native language at home. Read on to learn ways in which parents are untapped resources for emergent bilingual students.
Parental involvement is the number one way in which parents of emergent bilingual students can serve as a resource for their children. Some forms of parental involvement that can benefit emergent bilinguals include:
- Reading: A crucial aspect of parental involvement is reading. Parents of emergent bilinguals can read to and with their children, in order to reinforce language and literacy skills. Additionally, parents can read bilingual books with their children to help retain their home or native language, while learning English or their second language.
- Culture: It is important for parents to teach their children about their culture and traditions. Not only does learning and utilizing information about their background help emergent bilinguals, but it also helps them in the classroom setting because they are able to inform their teachers about their culture and traditions. In turn, teachers can better understand and connect with their students.
- Homework: Parents of emergent bilingual students should get involved with homework help. Parents should encourage and motivate their children to study; in turn, they’ll have a higher probability of academic success.
Lastly, when school administrators and educators support parents of emergent bilingual students, they are also supporting the students that need their help and guidance. As teachers are not often trained to work with parents of emergent bilinguals, they usually don’t work with them effectively to help parents get the training on how to help their children. The Latino Literacy Project offers school administrators and educators webinars and workshops that can help them obtain the necessary skills to work effectively with the parents of emergent bilingual students.
Parents are Untapped Resources for Emergent Bilingual Students