Here are just a few of the strategies you can use to support language development for DLLs.  Notice that many of these strategies are similar to those you would use with English speaking infants and toddlers as they learn to communicate with others: 

  • Follow the child’s lead – generate conversations about the toys or materials that the child is drawn too.
  • Meet children where they are – If a child is pointing at objects, name the object.  If another child is using two word phrases, add additional details in your response.
  • Use gestures and modeling to reinforce new vocabulary words.
  • Include many images and photos to the learning environment and your interactions with children.
  • Incorporate familiar songs and fingerplays from the child’s home language.  You could also adapt the lyrics to English language songs to incorporate words from the child’s home language.
  • Encourage conversations with other children.  Guide English speaking children, or other DLLs, to use new vocabulary words with new DLL students in the class.
  • Allow time for children to process language used in requests and questions. Give children additional time to respond, either through language or actions.   
  • Use self-talk to describe the actions you are taking.  Also incorporate parallel talk as well, which is done when you describe what you see the child doing.
  • Build onto the language children use by adding more words in a developmentally appropriate way.  This Head Start resource contains an illustrated example of how you might do this. 

For the main article, Supporting Dual Language Learners in Early Learning Environments, CLICK HERE

For the article, Supporting Dual Language Learners During Daily Routines, CLICK HERE

For the article, Supporting Dual Language Learners Through Curriculum Planning, CLICK HERE

For the article, Director’s Corner – Preparing to Support Dual Language Learners and their Families, CLICK HERE