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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 24 u Chapter 2 Can Dual-Language Learners Learn to Read in Their Second Language? Yes, dual-language learners can learn to read in their second language. All over the world, many children are schooled in their country’s offi- cial language while speaking a different language at home. For example, children attend English-language schools in India, and French-language schools in Senegal. In fact, bilingual children may have an advantage over monolinguals in learning to read. Bilingual children seem to have an earlier understanding of words (Bialystok 2001). Some studies have shown that dual-language learners can learn to read in English as well as or better than monolingual English speakers if they receive intentional instruction (Lesaux and Siegel 2003). A dual-language learner does not necessarily need to learn to read in the home language (Snow 2004). Some evidence suggests that children learn to read best if they get instruction in their home language and in English during separate sessions (Slavin and Cheung 2005). However, if you lack solid academic resources (such as bilingual teachers and high- quality materials) to teach children to read in their home language, it is reassuring to know that you can teach reading in English. In a study that received the 2005 International Reading Association (IRA) Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award, Molly Fuller Collins (2005) described how young English-language learners learn vocabulary and new concepts through focused storybook reading. Collins found that having a strong home-language vocabulary was not critical. She explained that three easily implemented teaching techniques were more important: • reading three times per day • identifying target words (words that are vital for overall comprehension) • providing rich explanations Rich explanations are a variety of techniques that aid comprehension, such as pointing to pictures that support the text, describing these pic- tures, illustrating actions with gestures, reusing words in simple sen- tences, and repeating a reading over several days. Teachers can also reinforce vocabulary and concepts with related activities, such as puppets, toys, videos, puzzles, dramatic play, sen- sory activities, flannel boards, and other books on the same topic. For COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL