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Hello, bonjour, hola – language is a beautiful thing

The Burleson Star – Bethann Coldiron

“Without languages, it would be really difficult for people to communicate with each other. But with an estimated 6,909 distinct languages in the world, why is it that in the United States, the only language that most Americans know is English? Texas, of course, is in the minority here as there is a heavy Hispanic population in the state. According to a U.S. Census count, more than a third of the state’s residents speak another language at home – of which 85 percent speak Spanish.” (more)

Want to strengthen your brain for the fall semester? Try learning a second language.

The Courier – Tessa Morton

“Americans are largely monolingual, and that’s not a good thing. During the recent immigration debate (which is definitely not what this opinion piece is about), I heard the same, dare I say, ignorant phrase: if you’re in America, you should speak English. On its face, the argument makes sense. In America, English is the language that most people speak, so if you want to be understood, that certainly would make sense. However, why would hearing foreign languages ever be considered offensive? Speaking multiple languages is a strength that should be valued, and bilingualism is a skill that should be revered and aspired to, rather than jeered at.” (more)

California must continue to lead in closing the bilingual skills gap

Ed Source – David Bong

“High school seniors in nearly three dozen states walked across the graduation stage last month to receive a diploma with a unique distinction that signifies they are even better positioned for success: a Seal of Biliteracy. That’s because in today’s global economy and multicultural society, the skill of being bilingual is becoming increasingly valuable in the eyes of colleges and employers. In fact, a recent study from the New American Economy showed that demand for bilingual workers more than doubled between 2010 and 2015.” (more)

Why We Should Encourage Modern Foreign Language Learning

FE News – Sabine Schnorr

“It’s often said that children pick up new skills quickly; that their brains are like sponges and that they absorb information more rapidly. There’s also a perception that it’s easier to learn a language when you’re young and that you’re more likely to become fluent if you start early.” (more)

Why There’s A Language Learning Gap In The United States

WBUR – Staff Writer

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 60 million Americans speak a language other than English at home. But more than 231 million speak only English at home, and don’t know another language well enough to communicate in it. Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, says not only is there a language learning gap in the U.S., it’s actually getting worse.” (more)

The Benefits of Narrow Reading Units

Language Magazine – Kate Kinsella

“I provide consultancy and professional development for districts across the nation that are striving to support English learners and under-resourced students in making viable academic language and literacy advances. I am observing with increasing concern as well-intended English language arts educators in grades 4-12 cobble together units of study in hopes of addressing the complex demands of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2010) in time for the impending doom of the proverbial “cart before the horse” assessment debacle. Their legacy curriculum was not created to mentor English acolytes in systematic analysis of content-rich nonfiction, a range of rigorous text-reliant discussions using academic register, and argumentative writing drawing from multiple sources, all major emphases in the CCSS shifts.” (more)