Series: First Five Early Childhood Education

Dual Language Learners: Developing Literacy
Lesson Objective: Develop expressive and receptive language skills
Pre-K / ELA / Questioning

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Ngan help her students develop language and literacy skills?
  2. Why is it important to connect to students' home languages and cultures?
  3. What are the benefits of asking open-ended questions?

She had the students read aloud and student use the illustration on the page to chime in to complete the sentence. She actively engaged them in the reading with open-ended questions to makes connection of the different images that can be created with spilled milk. She connected it with the home language to familiarize them with the materials she brought and allowed them to develop, boost their vocabulary with the use of dual languages. She also let them explore and bring the story to life as they participate in storytelling. The students wrote their own story after creating different images with milk.

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Ms. Ngan helps her students develop language and literacy skills by using authentic and repetivive text.  She reinforces vocabulary using picture clues and asks open-ended questions.  She has children make connections between text and real life experiences.

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1. Ms Ngan helps her students develop language and literacy skills by reading a book and pointing to words and pictures, by asking promoting questions, by using words and having the children repeat the words.

2. It is important to connect to children's home language and culture because it will enable children build self-esteem as well as encourage multicultural awareness among the children.

3. Benefits of open ended questions are it enhances thinking and language skills, Children will be able to improve their vocabulary.

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The teaher is using authentic literature that is very predictable. This helpes build confidence and helps the children make connections to real life.  She is helping children build their language because it is a repetitious story. 

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This video shows how a connections is to be made between language in school and at home. Open ended questions give the students the opportunity to think critically.

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  • Developing Literacy Skills with Dual Language Learners
    Program Transcript

    Ngan: Anything you want to share today? Emily, how you feel today?


    Developing Literacy Skills with Dual Language Learners
    Program Transcript

    Ngan: Anything you want to share today? Emily, how you feel today?

    Ngan (Interview): My name is Carmen Ngan. I'm the preschool teacher at Kai Ming Head Start Sunset Center. We have eighty-five percent of children come from Asian family. Most of the family don't speak English at home, so the children come here to learn English. We create an atmosphere here to make children feel more comfortable. They get support from their home language.

    Ngan: They only walk.

    Student: Yeah.

    Ngan: Okay.

    Ngan (Interview): We would like the children to learn English. At the same time, they do not disconnect from the home language, so they can keep connection with their family, with their culture.

    Ngan: What do you think would happen if you spilled milk?

    Student: It would go everywhere.

    Ngan: It would go everywhere. And it might look like something. Okay. Are you ready? Let's look at this. It Looked Like Spilt Milk. That's the name of the book. Can you help me to read it? Sometime it looked like spilt milk, but it wasn't spilt milk. Sometime it look like a…

    Student: Rabbit.

    Ngan: Rabbit. But it wasn't a rabbit. What is that?

    Student: Sometimes…

    Ngan and Students: Sometime it look like a tree, but it wasn't a tree.

    Ngan (Interview): We will focus on the vocabulary we want the children to learn, so we will repeat it, and emphasize that.

    Ngan: Sometime it look like spilt milk, but it wasn't spilt milk. What is that?

    Students: A cloud!

    Ngan (Interview): So first we use the book to introduce the activity.

    Ngan: Have you ever seen this?

    Ngan (Interview): I want to pick something that related to their real life, so they have a real life experience.

    Ngan: This one is regular milk. Milk. [Chinese].

    Student: How about this one?

    Ngan: Yeah. How about this one? [Chinese]. Evaporated milk. [Chinese].

    Student: How about this one?

    Ngan: This is condensed milk. [Chinese].

    Student: [Chinese].

    Ngan (Interview): During the activity, they use the eyedropper or the straw to make artwork.

    Ngan: So sometime it look like…

    Student: Monster!

    Ngan: A monster? But, it's not a monster.

    Student: Sometimes it looks like an alien planet.

    Student: [gibberish].

    Ngan: You can see the different color. Different, huh? You can see-- Oh, tell me what you just did.

    Student: I blow…

    Ngan: You blow it.

    Student: …and I got bubbles.

    Ngan (Interview): We use open-ended question throughout the day. The goal is to enhance their thinking skill and their language skills. They develop receptive and expressive language skills.

    Ngan: What is that? Sometime it look like…

    Student: Monster.

    Ngan: A monster. Is that a monster?

    Student: Yeah.

    Ngan (Interview): When they're describing the artwork, I write it down in front of them about all the things they tell me. This is very important, when they can see the meaning being recorded. This strategy help children make connection between reading and spoken language.

    Ngan: So, sometime it look like…

    Student: Elephant.

    Ngan: Elephant. You just mentioned how many elephant?

    Student: Two.

    Ngan: Two elephant. Sometime it look like two elephants.

    Ngan (Interview): When they first start school they may not understand what we saying, however at the end of school, they fluent in English.


Carmen Ngan


Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

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