Early Literacy Learning for Immigrant and Refugee Children

Early Literacy Learning for Immigrant and Refugee Children

Early Literacy Learning for Immigrant and Refugee Children

Date posted: February 21, 2018

Today is International Mother Language Day. It’s a time to reflect on the importance of linguistic diversity. Did you know that:

Early learning and family literacy programs in BC serve a linguistically diverse population of parents and children. The International Literacy Association recently published a literacy leadership brief on Early Literacy Learning for Immigrant and Refugee Children: Parents’ Critical Roles.

Written by Dr. Jim Anderson, Dr. Marianne McTavish and Dr. Ji-Eun Kim from the Department of Language and Literacy Education in UBC’s Faculty of Education, it states:

Historically, many immigrant and refugee children and fam­ilies have lost their home languages quickly. However, there are compelling cognitive, cultural, linguistic, psychological, and so­cial reasons for educators to encourage and support families in maintaining home languages. (p.5)

Read the brief for a quick introduction to the latest thinking on mother language in early literacy learning. For a more in-depth look, read Lessons from parents, and with parents in early literacy learning for migrant and refugee students.

A practical example of working with mother language in family literacy programs is the IPALS (Parents as Literacy Supporters in Immigrant Communities) program. It is a culturally responsive family literacy program designed to help immigrant and refugee families – and their young children – flourish in their new communities.

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