The benefits of extending ESL programs to younger students are showing up in improved proficiency scores and increased graduation rates from the program in the Springdale School district.
A growing number of schools are providing instruction in English language development, resulting in 941 English language learners graduating from ESL programs, a significant increase over the 391 who graduated last year.
Children at Walker Elementary School no longer need language services. Last week, the 22 children participated in a school ceremony, sharing how the language development program helps them add description to their writing and speak in complete sentences.
“If you can think it, you can say it. If you can say it, you can write it. If you can write it, you can read it,” they recited with Marline Vernon, Walker’s English as a second language teacher.
The children received specific English language development instruction that was separate from their regular studies. The lessons include a lot of speaking and children are with their peers. The classes are structured for children who acquire English as a second language. Sometimes native English speakers also need language development instruction, but this program is for those whose native language is not English.