Let's Talk!. Blog # 3

In my school we work with over 400 kindergartners. The majority of our students are second language learners, many of them are monolingual. There is a belief , by some educators, that because some of our students are monolingual in their native language, they are low academically and linguistically.. On a daily basis, I speak to five year olds that use tier 3 words and my heart hurts to know that their teacher that does not speak their language will not recognize students beautifully developed language! Dr. Monroy has stressed several times, "lower level readers or speakers are not lower level thinkers. Three ways in which educators can increase vocabulary is by building relationships with their students so that they feel safe in sharing their language and stories of who they are. A second way to build language is to make sure that the classroom is language rich. Gone are the days when students just listen, look up words in the dictionary.and write down the definition. Students need to interact and experience vocabulary so that they can use it in the real world. Thirdly, there needs to be ongoing professional development and support for educators. Learning the science behind language development and the strategies to support students is an ongoing and monumental task. I remember in elementary school I believe I hardly spoke because I wasn't expected me to. I don't remember having any friends in 1st-3rd grade, it's time to tell "Let's talk, I'm listening.!"

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