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Young English Language Learners

There is a large and growing segment of English language learners, or ELLs, enrolled in American public schools, the majority (80%) of whom are native Spanish speakers. Almost half (44%) of all ELLs are enrolled in pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Because ELLs are learning a new language at the same time as they learn content in their curriculum, they face multiple challenges to school success. Early learning programs must provide additional supports to help ELLs be successful, and they must work to ensure that teachers have the proper training and resources to teach this unique population. Additionally, programs must equip parents with tools to work with their children starting at birth to promote early literacy skills that will help them be successful at the start of school.

Experts supports early learning proposals that target ELL children and families and provide the following:
• Workforce development to help instructors work with diverse learners and ELLs
• Career ladder programs to support a more diverse workforce
• Native-language support, including dual-language (two-way immersion) programs
• Effective family outreach strategies
• Expanded family literacy programs that work with both parents and children to ensure school success