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Dual-Language Programs Might Significantly Increase Students’ Reading Skills

Dual-Language Programs Might Significantly Increase Students’ Reading Skills

A study out of Portland, Oregon, has found that students who are enrolled in a dual-language program, meaning they are learning both English and a second language, develop significantly better reading skills than their peers.

The study, conducted by the Rand Corporation, American Councils for International Education and Portland Public Schools, used a large sample size of 27,741 children in Portland Public Schools and found students enrolled in the district’s language immersion programs outperformed their peers in reading year after year.

"The immersion students outperformed other students by about seven months in fifth grade and nine months in eighth grade, the study found," according to the Seattle Times.

Though the study found no positive effect of dual-language programs on students’ math and science skills, it also found no detriment to them either, said the Times

Included in the study were the Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian dual-language immersion programs. The Seattle Times also noted that the district offers Vietnamese classes as well but that these weren’t included in the study.

"About 10 percent of Portland students are enrolled in immersion programs, which are offered in a quarter of its schools,” the article said.

Certainly, the number of enrolled students and also the number of available programs are likely to increase with this positive research.

On that same note, thanks in part to the success of dual-language programs in Portland schools, school districts in the neighboring state of Washington will be provided $100,000 to establish dual-language immersion programs.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/18/2015

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