In a monolingual setting, literacy instruction usually focuses on reading during the language arts period. In a Dual Language setting, biliteracy is the focus. Biliteracy consists of the idea that bilingual learners use reading, writing, listening and speaking in two languages, throughout their instructional day. In order to attain the goal of being bilingual and biliterate, students need to learn to read, write, listen, and speak in all content areas throughout the day in order to reach ELD (English-language development) standards and SLD (Spanish-language development). The teacher’s objective is to integrate content, literacy, and language instruction with reading, oral language and writing within a wide range of purposes in two languages.
How do you teach for Biliteracy?
According to Beeman & Urow (2013), “teaching for biliteracy has three parts: Spanish (or one of the two languages), instruction, the Bridge (both languages side by side), and English instruction.” Bridging is the golden moment in which teachers help students connect what they have learned in a content area in one language with another language. In the earlier stages of language development, teachers must be intentional about creating these moments for bridging. In later stages of language development, students begin to make these connections on their own.
Considerations When Planning for Biliteracy:
- Will students be provided with an opportunity to read and write every day in both languages of instruction?
- Will students be engaged in meaningful and purposeful literacy activities in both languages?
- Will students be held accountable for learning in the target language?
- How will Bridging take place within the lessons so that students can connect one language with another?