Margarita Calderón, Guadalupe Espino, Shawn Slakk

Lupe and I are second language learners of English and French. Shawn is a second language learner of Spanish and Japanese. The three of us have lived, worked and studied in a second language plus we have majors, masters or doctoral studies in linguistics and have made it our life goal to further the implementation of effective dual language programs. Dr. Calderón has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Labor, National Institute of Children’s Health and Development to conduct empirical studies that have led to the compilation of knowledge, practices, and evidence-based results described in this book.

The March Book of the Month is by the incredible team of Exc-ELL, who have been committed to providing research-based Professional Development & Coaching for educators, schools, districts and states for many years now. When they went to create a book implementing this, their mission was clear and simple: to make bilingual biliteracy an integral part of all US schooling.

They felt this was an important challenge to tackle because of the current challenges of dual language programs: Integrating language, literacy, and content. Previously, the topics needed to have a dual language education were separated. By integrating speaking, listening, discourse and grammar into reading comprehension and academic writing in two languages, you create a much more fulfilled education.

They felt that universities have one department teaching English language development, another dual language research and premises, while other departments teach about math, science, social studies, and language arts. This doesn’t include others that teach “Modern/World languages acquisition” strategies, and their purpose is to have all these subjects integrated to be taught in a similar manner.

We were inspired to create this book as Lupe and Margarita grew up crossing the border between Juarez and El Paso. This metropolis was always bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. We loved this life and wish all children could have these rich experiences. Shawn grew up in a multilingual neighborhood and developed a deep-seated desire to be bilingual. When he traveled, learned Spanish and worked on Japanese and other languages, he realized that language was the great equalizer. If you could converse with someone, you could know them.

Their book very clearly emphasizes these benefits as it is in Spanish and in English. Each chapter deals with how to teach academic language, oracy, reading comprehension, and academic writing in Spanish and in English. It also describes how to incorporate social emotional strategies that dual language students need to succeed in everyday life in school and community, to develop resiliency, and models that learning isn’t a monolingual activity. In fact, it illustrates how multilingualism opens the brain to seeing other cultures, feelings, expressions and ways of doing things.

They hope that readers take a way a sense of how to organize and deliver evidence-based instructional practices in two languages. The book contains many examples for teaching academic language, basic reading, reading comprehension, and different types of writing, revising, and editing.

The U.S. business sector will prevail in the global economy with a larger cohort of bilingual/multilingual professionals. Multilingual students who have been left out of prime opportunities will finally have a chance to show their talents and bicultural/bilingual innate abilities. By 2045, statistics predict that English will be the subordinate language in the US. It is finally time for the US to embrace its multicultural/multilingual roots and educate our children so that they can seamlessly interact with the rest of the multilingual world.

We believe this book will change the trajectory of the path to be bilingual, and greatly inspire many more to have a fully integrated bilingual education. Be on the look out for the launch of their book-coming to you very soon!

Patricia Griselda Pérez
Author: Patricia Griselda Pérez

Dr. Patricia Pérez holds an A.A. from Ohlone College: B.A. and M.S. degree from California State University, East Bay and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. She serves as an educator, consultant and teacher coach, which provides professional development, curriculum development and multicultural awareness services to local and international educational institutions and corporations. Dr. Pérez is fluent in Spanish and began her career as an elementary school teacher in a bilingual classroom. In the past two decades, she has developed a wide range of experience working at every level of public education, providing support to educators and directly to students. Her interest focus on promoting educational excellence through equity in order to overcome institutional barriers that confront underserved students of diverse backgrounds. Dr. Pérez is also an accomplished writer and has published in the areas of multicultural education and organizational management and leadership. She is a contributing author to Multicultural Education in Practice: Transforming One Community at a Time and Collaboration and Peak Performance: A Multidisciplinary Perspective for Emerging Leaders.

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