Fostering early literacy learning using dual language books
In light of the importance of early literacy achievement to long term academic and economic success, educators urgently need to comprehend the sociocultural complexities manifested in learning contexts that involve multilingual students. Dual language books (DLBs; i.e., books written in English and another language) are one tool that can be used to examine these complexities as they allow teachers and students to identify and express cultural and linguistic assets and, in so doing, access and benefit from the cultural and linguistic capital of multilingual learners. As such, DLBs allow first languages to function as a cultural amplifier (i.e., a culturally invented tool or technology that advances development). In this chapter we present vignettes from teaching sessions in which researchers and volunteers focus on linguistic and cultural diversity while reading DLBs with first grade students. Our analyses of the sessions highlight children’s engagement in the literacy experiences, application of cultural knowledge, and growing metalinguistic awareness.