Use these guidelines to help you assess the literacy development of children who are learning English as a second language:
1. Learn as much as you can about the child's home background and culture.
- Read about the cultural heritage of the child.
- Make a home visit, with a translator if necessary.
- Ask experts in the culture to help you better understand the culture.
2. Understand that learning a second language is a complex process that develops over time.
- Children first use only their home language.
- Many children stop talking entirely.
- When they begin to speak English, children often use a couple of words to express whole ideas.
3. Use anecdotal observations to record the variety of ways children are using English, including the ways they:
- express feelings.
- convince others of their point of view.
- use rhyming words as they sing or chant to themselves or each other.
- ask for the names of things.
- talk about a past experience.
- tell a story.
4. Assess children's language in the entire context of children's lives.
- Ask children to tell you what they've learned that's special to them.
- Talk with each child's parents and family about what the child is doing and learning at home.
- Expand family resources, making sure each family has a library card, provide books in children's home language, and invite families to volunteer in the center.