Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Young Children (July 2014) Vol. 69, No. 3, pp. 40-46


Copyright © 2014 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.


DUAL LANGUAGE LEARNERS (DLLS) are part of the educational landscape across the United States. Public school enrollment of dual language learners increased by 51 percent from 1997 to 2008 (NCELA 2011). At the same time, students who are DLLs meet the same academic standards as English-only students after an adjustment period (Goldenberg 2008). The challenge for our schools and communities is educating all students while helping DLLs close the gap in language and cultural understanding so they can succeed in the American educational system. Research suggests that working to close the achievement gap during regular school hours only is not enough (NCES 2011). Families have a major impact on young children's literacy achievements, and their participation in extending learning, setting expectations, and building cultural capital outside of school is vital. Cultural capital is the knowledge that has value in a given society. Helping families develop literacy strategies and an understanding of the US school system enables them to better support and extend their children's literacy development.