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Resource Review

Source Reviewed:

The Dual Language Showcase (http://thornwood.peelschools.org/Dual/index.htm)

Audience:

Students, Parents, Educators

Topic:

Language Learning and Related Issues

Description:

As part of an Action Research project, teachers at Thornwood Public School, York University, and OISE/University of Toronto began this site. The Action Research group is “committed to forging a stronger home-school connection” through emphasizing the importance of reading in any language. In order to encourage non-English speaking families to read together, the Action Research team developed “dual language books and multilingual audio tapes, for use at school and at home.” The process of reading in the new language learners’ first language promotes inclusivity and helps “facilitate the acquisition of literacy in English.”
The site explains how the books were chosen for the “dual language” program and introduces some of the issues that were raised when choosing the books. The success of the project in schools is revealed through anecdotal student responses. The writers explain the positive reactions of several newly arrived students to the dual language books and tapes. Finally, the site offers a long list of “future projects to explore,” which offer numerous ways to incorporate multilingualism into the classroom.


Strengths:

The site’s homepage offers a welcome in sixteen different languages, and then links to dual language, illustrated storybooks written by children in: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Swahili, Tamil, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese.
A list of useful dual language hot links is also available on the site. The site links directly to Thornwood Public School’s home page.


Weaknesses:

None.

Comments:

Developing dual language projects enhances the status of multilingual children in the classroom and it gives them an opportunity to “demonstrate their skills demonstrate their skills (e.g., as authors and interpreters) and to share their cultures, countries of origin and personal experiences as newcomers to Canada.” Moreover, involving parents and guardians in their children’s learning (as translators, experts, etc.) fosters an enriched, connected, and aware community. This initiative provides outstanding samples of student work and a comprehensive rationale.

Your Recommendations:

I recommend this site highly as a resource for educators who are looking for ways to engage new language learners, while infusing the classroom curriculum with multilingualism.

Submitted by: Colleen Grandy

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