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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 2 u Introduction Why I Wrote This Book In this book, I share with you both research evidence and personal insights. I propose a thoughtful, commonsense approach to help young children learn English, maintain their home language, and develop the early literacy skills necessary for school readiness and success. Teaching language to help young children become bilingual and bi- literate is a challenging task. Educators must bridge school literacy and home language while encouraging parents to use their home language. They must use concrete techniques designed for teaching dual-language learners and supporting their families. Intentionality is critical. A hope- ful but haphazard approach often frustrates and disappoints students and families as well as educators. When I present workshops for educators, I ask them to tell me why they have come. Their responses boil down to two basic questions: 1. What are the best ways to teach children who are dual-language learners? 2. What are the best ways to communicate with and support the families of dual-language learners? The Term Dual-Language Learner I use the term dual-language learner rather than the familiar terms English-language learner (ELL) or limited English proficiency (LEP). I believe dual-language learner is the right word to describe a child who is learn- ing both English and a home language. It respects the importance of both languages. English is the practical language needed to succeed in school and the wider world. The home language is the emotional language needed for maintaining family relationships, values, and traditions. I hope to answer these key questions in this book. As you read, you will probably confirm things you already know. You will also learn some new ideas. I hope you will reflect on your current work and decide how to connect what you know with what you do. Together, you and I can improve the education of young children who are dual-language learners! Focus and Philosophy In this book, I address educators in mul- tilingual early childhood classrooms who teach in English and support home languages intentionally. I take into account the challenge of supporting home languages without staff who speak these languages or media pro- duced in them. I describe simple techniques you can use to foster dual- language learning, regardless of your resources. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL