Volume III - December 1, 2003

Welcome to the E-Comp!, a complimentary monthly newsletter brought to you by Prolinguistica.com.
Visit our website, at http://www.prolinguistica.com - we’ve been upgrading it! There’s a publications page, an E-Comp! archive (small, but it will grow), and a few other tidbits as well. On the way – a resources page with links to sites of interest on the web, and a bibliography page listing books and publications of interest! If you’d like to submit your favorite websites, books or resources you’ve found useful, send them in – we’ll include them and credit you! Today, Prolingvistica, tomorrow zee vorld!
For your reading pleasure…

Children Raised Bilingually May Be Smarter
Scientists continue to unravel the mystery of the brain's role in the development of language skills -- and with some provocative results. One new study at Dartmouth College, for example, reveals that children raised bilingually may actually be "smarter" than their monolingual peers. These findings add weight to the bilingual side of the long-running argument about whether children who grow up bilingual are at an advantage compared to those who learn only one language. To read the entire article, visit: http://www.rednova.com/news/stories/2/2003/11/13/story005.html

Study of Foreign Languages on the Rise
According to a recent report from the Modern Languages Association, more students are enrolling in foreign languages than ever before. Enrollments grew in all languages, even languages that were previously waning in enrollments numbers, like German and French. Of the languages, the most commonly taught is Spanish, consisting of 53 percent of foreign language enrollments. To read the entire article, visit:

U.S. Recruits Professionals in Mexico
More and more educators are being sought in Mexico to teach in the United States. For example, the Dallas Independent School District, with a large Spanish speaking population, started taking recruiting trips to Juárez and other Mexican cities last year because the district needs 200 to 300 new bilingual teachers a year while only 200 get certified in the state annually. To read the entire article, visit: http://www.borderlandnews.com/stories/borderland/20031112-43893.shtml

New French Immersion Program in Canada
According to researchers, a new intensive French immersion program may offer a solution to not only the decrease in French learners in Canada, but the high cost of staffing that has caused many schools in rural areas to stop offering French immersion. The program involves sixth graders spending the first half of the school year learning to read, write, and speak French for three-quarters of the day. At the beginning of the school year, students learn basic French phrases, and by December, they are discussing topics and writing in French. The researchers found that students in this program "outperformed students in English-only schools on provincial tests in math, English and science." To read the entire article, visit:

Any implications for us?
Pleasure boosts English

To the editor Taipei Times, Saturday, Nov 15, 2003:
In order to improve Taiwanese students' English competence, specifically performance on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), experts have recommended that English education be extended to all four years of college and that teacher quality be improved ("Students' English disappoints," Nov. 7, page 2).
Research shows that the best predictor of scores on the TOEFL is the amount of recreational reading students do, using material that students select themselves and read for their own pleasure. Other studies come to very similar conclusions: Students in classes that emphasize pleasure-reading acquire more grammar and vocabulary than students in traditional classes.
These studies have been done in several different countries, and include important work from Taiwan. Professor Sy-ying Lee of National Taipei University has shown that the amount of pleasure-reading done was a significant predictor of how well students performed in a writing test. Of great interest is the finding that the amount of formal study and the amount of writing did not predict writing proficiency.
We know from linguistics research that the grammatical system of any language is far too complex to be taught and learned. Linguists admit that they have not yet succeeded in accurately describing all the rules of any language. In addition, academic English requires a vocabulary of between 50,000 and 150,000 words, which is far too many to memorize one at a time.
Reading material that interests students allows them to absorb the complex writing style of English, gradually acquire the huge vocabulary they need, as well as complex grammatical rules.
Before prescribing "more of the same," we might consider taking advantage of this easier, more pleasant path.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California
Original article at: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2003/11/07/2003074896

College Hopes to Offer Minor in Spanish-Language Journalism
California StateUniversity, Northridge (CSUN) began offering courses this semester "designed to train reporters and editors to work in the burgeoning field of Spanish-language print and broadcast media." The hope is that by December 2004 the school will have in place and approved a minor in Spanish-language journalism..To read the entire article, visit:

English Proficiency Can Take A While in State ESEA Plans
Many states have set the bar so low for children who are learning English that students in those states could leave high school without being taught to read or write the language, yet their schools would face no consequences under federal education law. While the No Child Left Behind Act has a detailed formula for bringing students to proficiency on state reading and mathematics tests by the 2013-14 school year, it's much less precise on states' goals for English-language learners. Read the rest of the article at:: http://www.edweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=12NCLB.h23

Engaging Multilingual and Multicultural Students

(in Reading Teacher Vol. 57 (3),pp. 242-252)
If you can get hold of a copy of Reading Teacher, this article might induce your “duh” response, but it might be worth sharing with colleagues who know less than you do about multilingual and multicultural students. It explains that it can be difficult to engage some children in reading. (!) The author gives examples of preschoolers from very different cultural and linguistic communities who "use language in powerful ways to negotiate relationships with other people and to accomplish his or her own social purposes," yet may not become engaged in book reading or literacy activities in preschool or kindergarten because of an upbringing that does not place significance on books. The cultural environment a child grows up in, particularly the significance reading plays in that child's life, affects his/her relationship with books.(!) Thus, a child could be have sophisticated speaking abilities, yet find little engaging about the written word. The author offers three suggestions to enhance the preschoolers' and kindergartners' experiences with books.
(1) "Choose books that relate to children's lives";
(2) "Teach book reading behaviors explicitly"; and
(3) "Make books come alive."
To liven up books, teachers should engage the children in meaningful conversations about them, create puppet characters the students can interview or create new stories about or just dramatize the story, use teacher-made audiotapes for students to listen to.
The article also provides a list of children's books that are particularly effective at developing an attachment between children and the text.
The Reading Teacher is published by:
International Reading Association
800 Barksdale Road
Box 8139
Newark, DE 19714-8139

Resources you might be interested in…

Eduhound.com Offers Extensive Internet Links
Eduhound.com has a wealth of links in both Spanish and English on Hispanic education for educators of students in both primary and secondary schools. Sections include art, language, Aztec, maps, museums, Spain, Mexico, History, ESL, Mesoamerican, bilingual tutorials, dictionaries, news, radio and television, and many other categories. To view the site, visit: http://www.eduhound.com/

Bilingual Motivational Booklets for the Classroom and the Home
Dr. Steve Moreno's Web site offers bilingual (English/Spanish) parent and student motivational/informational booklets, language tests, and other encouraging educational materials for use at parent meetings, parent-teacher conferences, parent information/education workshops, tutoring groups, student organizations, motivation-for-college preparation, student motivation meetings, etc. Free samples available upon request. For more information, visit: http://www.morenoed.com

eslgo.com Offers Teachers and Students Resources and Free Classes

ESL go.com is a free English web site for learning English as a second language or teaching English as a second language. The site offers classroom resources, quizzes, free online classes, forums, and ESL links. To view the Web site, visit: http://www.eslgo.com/

Think Spanish Magazine
Think Spanish or ¡Piensa en Español! is a monthly magazine with practical Spanish vocabulary, grammar, lessons and information. Topics of articles include: culture and travel in Spanish speaking countries, art and entertainment, current news and events, history, science. Articles are written in beginning Spanish and a bilingual glossary accompanies each article. In addition, each issue contains a monthly tutorial, syntax review, crossword puzzle, functional idioms and phrases and linguistic comparisons. For more information, visit: http://www.readspanish.com/magazine.php

Visit Stephen Krashen’s website: http://sdkrashen.com/
Dr. Krashen has a number of free, downloadable articles there (in PDF format) on language acquisition, reading, heritage languages… Most recent titles include,

Cho, G., Shin, F., and Krashen, S. What Do We Know about Heritage Languages? What Do We Need to Learn About Them? 10 pages.

Krashen, S. Second Language "Standards For Success": Out Of Touch With Language Acquisition Research 5 pages

Krashen, S. (2002) The Lexile Framework: The Controversy Continues (2002) : 4 pages

The iLoveLanguages Web Site
Formerly known as "The Human-Languages Page," iLoveLanguages offers
resources on language learning and language education, including useful
services, information, and products. To view the Web site, visit: http://www.ilovelanguages.com

Got a teaching idea, article, announcement you’d like to share? Did you try out one of the internet references and have a comment on its applicability or appropriateness? Send it in to Laura's attention at e-comp@prolinguistica.com and we’ll publish it in the newsletter, giving you credit for your brilliance! YOU can make this a really outstanding newsletter!!
As usual, please excuse any typos you find!!!
Have wonderful holiday season!

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