Top Languages Spoken at Home with English Learners

We hear a lot about English Learners, but who are they and which are the top languages spoken at home? The Spanish language is the second most spoken language in the United States after English. There are more Spanish speakers in the U.S. than there are speakers of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and the Native American languages combined.


The next most spoken non-English languages are Chinese (with 2.8 million speakers), Hindi, Urdu or other Indic languages (2.2 million), French or French Creole (2.1 million), and Tagalog (1.7 million). Since the number of Spanish-speakers has grown quite rapidly in recent decades, many schools and districts are wondering how to best support English Learners.

Title III is a federal funding specifically for English Learners to help them learn English and provide academic support. The U.S. Department of Education comments, “Ensuring that SEAs and school districts are equipped with the tools and resources to meet their responsibilities to LEP students, who are now more commonly referred to as English Learner (EL) students or English Language Learner students, is as important today as it was then. EL students are now enrolled in nearly three out of every four public schools, and all students, have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential. We applaud those working to ensure equal educational opportunities for EL students, as well as the many schools and communities creating programs that recognize the heritage languages of EL students as valuable assets to preserve.”

Languages Spoken at Home with English Learners

By 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the number of Spanish-speakers is expected to rise to as many as 43 million. An analysis of the 2011 American Community Survey by the Pew Research Center shows that 37.6 million people ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home.

It would be important to provide Staff Development opportunities for teachers to understand how to reach out to the hispanic parent population, in order to support their children with reading and academics. The Latino Family Literacy Project™ provides workshops throughout the United States, as well as online webinars for program training. Currently facilitators in 17 states have been trained to use our programs.

A resource for EL kids and parents, Lectura Books, publishes bilingual books in Spanish and English, so that Spanish speaking parents can read with their children and learn English together with their children. Take a look inside one of our bilingual books, Teo Goes to the Circus, and see for yourself why parents and kids love our books.