What is Biliteracy para todos™?
Biliteracy para todos™ emerged from the authors’ experience working with bilingual teachers in various program contexts and builds upon three interrelated premises:
- Embrace students’ language practices and culture
- Connect the two languages of instruction
- Empower teachers and students through biliteracy practices
Watch the Authors’ Webinar Presentation of the Program
Biliteracy para todos™ provides lessons for teachers to engage bilingual learners in two related activities:
- Contrasting and analyzing the two languages of instruction
- Using their complete linguistic repertoire in whole-class and small group literacy instruction.
In Biliteracy para todos™, bilingual students are referred to as:
- Emergent bilinguals of English – students whose dominant home language is Spanish and are becoming bilinguals as they develop English through language connections. At the same time, they are further developing their home language.
- Emergent bilinguals of Spanish – students whose dominant home language is English and are becoming bilinguals as they develop Spanish through language connections. At the same time, they are further developing their home language.
- Experienced bilinguals – students from both language groups who have advanced bilingual abilities in both program languages.
Biliteracy para todos™ consists of two separate resources:
- Cross Linguistic Connections (CLC) at the Developing Stage is a 10-set resource across levels of language which include phonology, morphology, grammar, and syntax.
- Preview-View-Review (PVR) at the Developing Stage is an 18-set resource for small group reading instruction.
Biliteracy para todos™ is a uniquely designed standards-based program to support students across three developmental stages of biliteracy:
- Early Biliteracy / Biliteracidad temprana (Coming Fall 2021)
- Developing Biliteracy / Biliteracidad en desarrollo (Available now)
- Advanced Biliteracy / Biliteracidad Avanzada (Coming Fall 2021)
The Pillars of Biliteracy para todos™
Biliteracy para todos™ builds on students’ ability to translenguar to actively develop biliteracy. Translanguaging is not only about moving from one language to another, it is also about how bilingual students use language. Students use their complete language system, which is composed of features of both languages, to make sense of their world.
Biliteracy para todos™ lessons are designed for teachers working with emergent and experienced bilinguals in different educational contexts. The lessons provide intentional translanguaging opportunities, allowing bilingual learners to flexibly use their full linguistic repertoire as they become bilingual and biliterate.
Translanguaging strategies enable students to engage with and comprehend complex texts. The intention of the program is to develop linguistic practices for academic contexts and to access content knowledge, while students build their bilingual identities. This process provides a more equitable educational opportunity.
In Biliteracy para todos™, biliteracy is seen from the perspectives of both the biliteracy teacher and the biliterate student.
The CLC and PVR lessons allow teachers to intentionally create opportunities for intentionally designed biliteracy teaching.
Students are encouraged to become biliterate as they move through the three stages of this program’s biliteracy progression. Through this process, the students use their full linguistic repertoire while making sense of how English and Spanish are similar and different.
About the Authors
Sandra Mercuri is a nationally and internationally recognized consultant in the areas of second language acquisition, dual language education, and curriculum integration for biliteracy development.
Sandra has over 30 years of experience teaching in K-12 schools and as a college professor in Argentina and the United States. She provides professional development for teachers, administrators, and parents on second language acquisition and bilingualism, dual language education, translanguaging pedagogy, and ESL strategies. Her latest published work on biliteracy is La enseñanza en el aula bilingüe: Content, language and biliteracy (Caslon, 2020).
Vivian Pratts is an experienced bilingual teacher, elementary principal, and bilingual/ESL PK-12 director. She has over 30 years of educational experience and is currently an educational consultant.
Vivian provides professional development for parents, teachers, and administrators as well as coaching principals in the areas of leadership and second language acquisition. Her current research interests include translanguaging with emergent and experienced bilinguals, and how teachers can extend and support the linguistic repertoire of students. With Sandra Mercuri, she co-authored the article Designing and Implementing Effective Professional Development and Coaching for Dual Language Programs at DualLanguageSchools.org.