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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Frequently Asked Questions about Dual-Language Learning example, at the University of Kansas Language Acquisition Preschool, teachers use scripted dramatic play to teach language. They not only pro- vide materials for dramatic play but also introduce the vocabulary, props, and actions formally and engage children explicitly (Bunce and Watkins 1995). How Long Does It Take to Become Proficient in a Second Language? In 1983 linguists Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell published a book about second-language acquisition called The Natural Approach. This book identified five stages of language learning that occur over a span of seven years: 1. Pre-production (the first six months of language learning): Stu- dents begin to understand but do not yet verbalize. It is a listening period. 2. Early production (six months to one year): Students have limited comprehension and initiate one- and two-word sentences. 3. Speech emergence (one to three years): Students have good com- prehension and can produce simple sentences with grammatical errors. 4. Intermediate fluency (three to five years): Students have excellent comprehension and make few errors. 5. Advanced fluency (five to seven years): Students have near-native ability in written and oral language. (Krashen and Terrell 1983) Educators often misunderstand how this process works for young children. Some teachers believe they must “wait it out”—the children will “get it” after seven years. But actually, this information is meant to help teachers understand that learning a second language is an orderly process and that they should tailor their teaching to the learner’s stage in the same sensitive way they would be promoting the first language. Their job is to teach actively, providing the right scaffolding—not too hard, not too easy—so children feel challenged but not overwhelmed. For example, a student at the early production stage can answer yes-or-no questions, but not how questions. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL u 25