Although the inclusion of bilingual literature in a collection is an essential way to meet the needs of EL students, I have noticed personally that many EL students prefer English-only books. This may be a cultural issue, the desire to conform, or it may simply be that there are more options in English-only. However, we should support our EL students with selections of bilingual literature in every genre of our collections.
-With their permission to share, here are some helpful links provided by our EL department regarding bilingual literature in school libraries:
*Scholastic Book Wizard can help with this as well. Here is an example of a search for "bilingual."
These are specific tips offered by the EL department for all educators in supporting the needs of English Learners:
1. Establish a classroom community that values and celebrates all languages and dialects.
[Implications for librarians: include literature with a variety of dialects!]
2. Encourage parents to develop and maintain primary language at home.
[Implications for librarians: provide translations of library documents and communication in native languages. There is a procedure in place for securing authentic translations from professionals at the central office level. For more info, see your EL Handbook!]
3. Offer primary language support through bilingual parent and community volunteers, peers, cross-age tutors, and extended day programs.
4. Learn and use some second language yourself with students. You don't have to be fluent. Just learn a few phrases and key vocabulary!
5. Understand the differences between supporting and developing the primary language.
[Implications for librarians: celebrate a variety of cultures through creative programming!]
What are some ways you have provided language support for English Learners? Please share!