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#1 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 02:29 AM

DD will start K in a Spanish Immersion school this fall. It is 100% immersion and all of her core subjects (math, language arts, science, etc.) will be taught 100% in Spanish from K-2. Art, music, and PE are in English. From 3rd up 80% is done in Spanish and 20% in English. The exception is math which stays 100% in Spanish.

 

My question is what should I expect for her English skills? She is currently reading at a 2nd/3rd grade level and writing simple sentences to describe pictures she draws. She does a lot of reading in English between picture books and early chapter books. I've heard that it is not uncommon for kids to drop in their ability or not progress.

 

I do plan to continue to gently do some English LA such as spelling. I'm not sure how formal I would do it, but we've just been doing it gently through copywork and reviewing the phonograms. 

 

Has anyone had experience with a kiddo in a language immersion program? Did you after school at all?


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#2 mom2bee

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 07:56 AM

No experience with immersion schools, but I lived abroad as a child.
We were friends with a family that had many English language books. My older siblings loved to read and read many of their books even while living and attending school in a different language.

I liked to read the books that had short stories and excerpts in them or nonfiction. I didn't read as much or as regularly as my siblings.

In the whole, our reading ability did not suffer in the least.
I think that so long as your daughter continues to read and socialize in English then her English skills will continue to develop.

Have you taught your daughter to read phonetically in Spanish yet?
Which reading book did you settle on?
How is it going?

#3 mom2bee

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 08:00 AM

I think the fact that your daughter CAN read well makes her much less likely to stall or regress.

If she were still learning to read, and you put English phonics and reading lessons on hold then she's going to be more likely to have her abilities to stagnate or regress.

#4 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 02:00 PM

I think the fact that your daughter CAN read well makes her much less likely to stall or regress.

If she were still learning to read, and you put English phonics and reading lessons on hold then she's going to be more likely to have her abilities to stagnate or regress.


That's helpful. We finished our phonics curriculum (Ordinary Parents Guide) back in March and have been slowly building up stamina with longer words and such. I do plan to review the English phonograms with her this summer to help solidify them. But she's reading at a 2/3rd grade level

#5 iwantsprinkles

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 06:03 PM

I've had three through immersion school and another soon to start. My oldest was in a program with the immersion percentages you describe except the program dropped to 50% for 3rd & 4th and goes back to 90% for 5th and 6th. She was right around the same level as your daughter when she started. Obviously it's all very individual, but I thought I'd respond and wish you the very best of luck in your exciting journey.

1. The first week was harder emotionally on my perfectionist than I expected. She was very excited to start school, but was quite stressed not understanding anything. When I brought her home, she actually cried as she described her confusion. The worst part was when they gave her a corn dog and she didn't know why (all the kids eat at school the first day even if they bring food so they learn how to do it). Lol. She was hardly alone. So many little people who had tears that week! Now the programs send a letter to the parents asking them to prepare their kids emotionally for the experience and to give it at least a few weeks before pulling kids out (some would panic on day one). With a little forwarning and discussion, the rest of my kids have been spared this.

2. We've been involved in 4 different programs and they are all so very different. The programs where at least half the kids are already bilingual or speak the target language, where the teachers were educated native speakers and speak no English, and where the children can only speak Spanish unless asking "Como se dice ---- en Español?" were much more successful. My daughter who was in 100% in kindergarten still shows the benefits of that high percentage at the start years later.

3. You will get to watch with fascination as your child's accent forms. Each year, my children had a totally different accent- eventually changing and matching their teacher for that year. At the end of elementary school, they seem to settle into their own and it changes less and less. I'd expect it to be mostly set by 14. I have loved watching this over the years.

4. Research shows that, at these percentages, immersion students should, on average, test below their english-only peers on English skills until third grade. they should start to even out by about third and surpass their peers by middle school. We saw a curve along these lines. Because our daughter was already ahead like yours, she didn't really lose much ground, but plateaud a bit compared to where I think she would have otherwise been while she built her Spanish vocabulary and reading skills. Her skills all across the board in English grew more slowly for the next few years, but grew all the same, and she was never below average in English even with almost no instruction. Book examples are all I can come up with. She read Harry Potter 1-4 at 7, loved the Warriors books at 8, finished Harry Potter and warriors books at 9 and launched into appropriate young adult and classic books thereafter. I think the last test put her near the end of high school in English reading and middle school (Percy Jackson books) in Spanish.

Sometimes she would say phrases in English picked up from Spanish, which got a few chuckles here and there. No one ever translated these phrases for her. There were several, and I wish I could remember them all. The only one I remember offhand was that she would often say times as, "it's 4 o'clock on the dot." She seemed to sort out common phrases and cliches by 3rd or 4th, but even now one will come across now and then. She got annoyed with spelling in English, which is, according to her, much harder. But she kept reading, and once she really fell in love with more advanced books, I saw her start to take off again.

I wish I hadn't stressed or worried as much k-3 wondering if I was crippling her English skills for life, because, even though her reading was great, her English spelling was not good and her writing and grammar wasnt the greatest either. She had been so far ahead and I was worried she was just stalling out for a while there. I was wrong. By 5th grade she was back up to the 99%tile in pretty much all areas except spelling, which was a little lower. I still feel like, at 11, she hasn't quite reached where she would have been without immersion, but is making rapid progress closing that gap in the near future. Best advice from our experience? Give them a little English work leeway for the first little while to give Spanish a little focus time, expect a slight drop/plateau for a few years and don't stress too much about it, and read read read in both languages. Your child sounds talented and she'll do great.

My second daughter was above average by about a grade when she started, but her program was 50% starting in 1st and stayed at that percentage. Her English didn't plateau asthat but her Spanish didn't grow as much either. By 4th grade, I feel like she'll be where she otherwise would have been by middle school but don't feel she has gotten the same benefit from the program.

5. Skills learned in one language are surprisingly transferable. At least, I was surprised.

6. Even if they don't speak, they are picking things up, but the sooner you get them comfortable speaking even if they aren't sure they are right, the better. So hard to break that shyness later.

7. They seem to grow in sudden spurts rather than a steady increase.

8. Having a child complain that their sibling has stolen a toy -in their sleep- in another language- is somehow twice as funny as it would be in English.

Good luck and HTH. Sorry for typos, tiny little phone screen.

Edited by iwantsprinkles, 13 July 2017 - 11:58 PM.

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#6 Renai

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:28 PM

4. Research shows that, at these percentages, immersion students should, on average, test below their english-only peers on English skills until third grade. they should even out by about third and surpass their peers by middle school. We saw a curve along these lines. Because our daughter was already ahead like yours, she didn't really lose much ground, but plateaud a bit compared to where I think she would have otherwise been while she built her Spanish vocabulary and reading skills. Her skills all across the board in English grew more slowly for the next few years, but grew all the same, and she was never below average in English even with almost no instruction. Book examples are all I can come up with. She read Harry Potter 1-4 at 7, loved the Warriors books at 8, finished Harry Potter and warriors books at 9 and launched into appropriate young adult and classic books thereafter. I think the last test put her near the end of high school in English reading and middle school (Percy Jackson books) in Spanish.
 

 

The research shows it's closer to 5th/6th grade when bilingual skills evens out or even surpasses monolingual peers. This is why it is so important to have a school that is doing dual language immersion through those grades. The benefits just are not seen if the program abruptly stops at 3rd.

 

Good luck! What a great opportunity.


Edited by Renai, 13 July 2017 - 10:28 PM.


#7 iwantsprinkles

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 11:55 PM

I would believe that. It has been a number of years since I looked at the research and I probably didn't look too closely on the exact turning point years since all our programs continue through the end of middle school. Sorry for the error. 😊
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#8 Renai

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 09:31 AM

I would believe that. It has been a number of years since I looked at the research and I probably didn't look too closely on the exact turning point years since all our programs continue through the end of middle school. Sorry for the error. 😊

 

How awesome! In our area, the school I mostly tutored at started the dual-language program in our area, but there weren't enough teachers to take it through 6th grade (school was K-6th). There was a lot of flack about the students being behind on the 3rd grade tests - both the dual-language and bilingual program students. We (bilingual teachers) knew and kept presenting the research about the length of time it takes. They rebuilt the school and expanded it, and now the whole school is dual-language, and goes prek through 8th grade. :D There is now another school in the district (both are public schools) that has a dual-language program through 5th grade.



#9 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 02:36 PM

I've had three through immersion school and another soon to start. My oldest was in a program with the immersion percentages you describe except the program dropped to 50% for 3rd & 4th and goes back to 90% for 5th and 6th. She was right around the same level as your daughter when she started. Obviously it's all very individual, but I thought I'd respond and wish you the very best of luck in your exciting journey.

1. The first week was harder emotionally on my perfectionist than I expected. She was very excited to start school, but was quite stressed not understanding anything. When I brought her home, she actually cried as she described her confusion. The worst part was when they gave her a corn dog and she didn't know why (all the kids eat at school the first day even if they bring food so they learn how to do it). Lol. She was hardly alone. So many little people who had tears that week! Now the programs send a letter to the parents asking them to prepare their kids emotionally for the experience and to give it at least a few weeks before pulling kids out (some would panic on day one). With a little forwarning and discussion, the rest of my kids have been spared this.

 

This is helpful. Our school is a K-8 and has been around for almost 10 years I believe. When I toured and went to an informational meeting, they were honest about the emotional adjustment. They even said that it may take up to the first month and even Christmas break for some kids to adjust. So we are definitely prepared for the emotional piece and I've been talking to DD about it. She's nervous, but excited. She seems to think she will pick up Spanish by the end of K. A bit unrealistic! haha. I do imagine she will be similar to your DD. She is a perfectionist and so used to knowing things that immersion will be a hard adjustment.

2. We've been involved in 4 different programs and they are all so very different. The programs where at least half the kids are already bilingual or speak the target language, where the teachers were educated native speakers and speak no English, and where the children can only speak Spanish unless asking "Como se dice ---- en Español?" were much more successful. My daughter who was in 100% in kindergarten still shows the benefits of that high percentage at the start years later.
 

 Ours is an immersion and not a dual-language. I believe dual-language are where you mix native and non-native speakers. The majority of Kers at DDs school are non-native speaking so this will help I believe. It is 100% Spanish and I don't think it drops down to 50/50 until middle school. But they do have a middle school for the reasons that you stated, retention of the bilingualism. Her class is Spanish only and they do highly discourage English speaking. They don't even want parent volunteers unless they agree not to speak english. 

3. You will get to watch with fascination as your child's accent forms. Each year, my children had a totally different accent- eventually changing and matching their teacher for that year. At the end of elementary school, they seem to settle into their own and it changes less and less. I'd expect it to be mostly set by 14. I have loved watching this over the years.

 

This is so cool. I can't wait to watch her language skills develop

4. Research shows that, at these percentages, immersion students should, on average, test below their english-only peers on English skills until third grade. they should start to even out by about third and surpass their peers by middle school. We saw a curve along these lines. Because our daughter was already ahead like yours, she didn't really lose much ground, but plateaud a bit compared to where I think she would have otherwise been while she built her Spanish vocabulary and reading skills. Her skills all across the board in English grew more slowly for the next few years, but grew all the same, and she was never below average in English even with almost no instruction. Book examples are all I can come up with. She read Harry Potter 1-4 at 7, loved the Warriors books at 8, finished Harry Potter and warriors books at 9 and launched into appropriate young adult and classic books thereafter. I think the last test put her near the end of high school in English reading and middle school (Percy Jackson books) in Spanish.

 

Sometimes she would say phrases in English picked up from Spanish, which got a few chuckles here and there. No one ever translated these phrases for her. There were several, and I wish I could remember them all. The only one I remember offhand was that she would often say times as, "it's 4 o'clock on the dot." She seemed to sort out common phrases and cliches by 3rd or 4th, but even now one will come across now and then. She got annoyed with spelling in English, which is, according to her, much harder. But she kept reading, and once she really fell in love with more advanced books, I saw her start to take off again.
I wish I hadn't stressed or worried as much k-3 wondering if I was crippling her English skills for life, because, even though her reading was great, her English spelling was not good and her writing and grammar wasnt the greatest either. She had been so far ahead and I was worried she was just stalling out for a while there. I was wrong. By 5th grade she was back up to the 99%tile in pretty much all areas except spelling, which was a little lower. I still feel like, at 11, she hasn't quite reached where she would have been without immersion, but is making rapid progress closing that gap in the near future. Best advice from our experience? Give them a little English work leeway for the first little while to give Spanish a little focus time, expect a slight drop/plateau for a few years and don't stress too much about it, and read read read in both languages. Your child sounds talented and she'll do great.

My second daughter was above average by about a grade when she started, but her program was 50% starting in 1st and stayed at that percentage. Her English didn't plateau asthat but her Spanish didn't grow as much either. By 4th grade, I feel like she'll be where she otherwise would have been by middle school but don't feel she has gotten the same benefit from the program.

 

This is another thing the school was honest with us about up-front. They did say that the students test behind their English only peers until after 3rd grade. They go off of our states 3rd grade tests. Typically the immersion students are a grade level or so behind their English peers in English LAs. However, in math our kiddos are off of the chart. They never do math in English their entire K-8 career. Math stays in the immersion language. DD spells alright for a preschooler. Somewhat phonetically but she has internalized certain rules (silent e, ee, etc.). She's at about a 3rd grade reading level and progressing a lot over the summer. It will be interesting to see. I'm not too worried since her reading skills are so high above grade level. Her little brother is starting to sound out words at 3.5, but he will go to a dual-language pre-k in a year so his skills may slow down a bit. 

 

Right now we are building our spanish book library and have been reading picture books in Spanish. I've doubled up some books so that we have both the English and Spanish versions. They love being read to in Spanish even if they do not understand it. We are a reading family so books are a big part of our lives. 

 

5. Skills learned in one language are surprisingly transferable. At least, I was surprised.

6. Even if they don't speak, they are picking things up, but the sooner you get them comfortable speaking even if they aren't sure they are right, the better. So hard to break that shyness later.

7. They seem to grow in sudden spurts rather than a steady increase.

8. Having a child complain that their sibling has stolen a toy -in their sleep- in another language- is somehow twice as funny as it would be in English.

Good luck and HTH. Sorry for typos, tiny little phone screen.

 


Edited by ReadingMama1214, 14 July 2017 - 02:36 PM.


#10 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 02:37 PM

The research shows it's closer to 5th/6th grade when bilingual skills evens out or even surpasses monolingual peers. This is why it is so important to have a school that is doing dual language immersion through those grades. The benefits just are not seen if the program abruptly stops at 3rd.

 

Good luck! What a great opportunity.

 

Yes ours is K-8 for this exact reason and I was glad they were upfront about the test scores. 


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