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why early Spanish literacy instruction is a gift to students

Did you ever think about the ough blend in English? Where’s the consistency? Bough, rough, through, cough…ugh. It’s undoubtedly a bit frustrating for English language learners who might be used to a sound/letter system that aligns with what their eyes see on a page and where a reader can rely on the fact that an “o,” will always make the same sound. For example, in Spanish, the letter “o” always makes an “oh” sound: plato, macho, bueno, etc.

We thought it might be interesting to highlight certain English sound/spelling inconsistencies to further illustrate the point made by Dr. Tara Fortune, Director of  director of the Immersion Research and Professional Development Program at CARLA, during her last visit with add.a.lingua.

One study found that it takes an average of 2.5 years longer to become literate in English than in Spanish.

Because the Spanish language is very consistent, she told participants at a lunch and learn forum that receiving early literacy instruction in Spanish is a real gift for learners due to the accessibility of the language.

According to Dr. Fortune, a student who begins early literacy instruction in a more consistent phonetic system will more easily transfer those skills to English later on. In fact, one study found that it takes an average of 2.5 years longer to become literate in English than in Spanish. Think about the opportunity Spanish immersion students have to access information in texts that much earlier than their English only peers!

Check out Dr. Fortune’s full response below.

 

You can learn more about how add.a.lingua supports Spanish and Mandarin Chinese dual language immersion education around the country here.

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