Spanish immersion frequently asked questions

What is a language immersion program?

  • A language immersion program is a proven method of educating children by immersing them in a second or “target” language so they become bilingual.
  • In a language immersion program, the classroom environment becomes the setting for language acquisition through subject content instruction, educational discourse, and social interactions.

Why is language immersion most effective beginning at a young age?

  • Babies are born as “world citizens,” able to distinguish any sound in spoken language.
  • Toddlers learn through interaction with their families and their immediate surroundings.
  • School-age children make sense of new concepts by relating those new concepts to what they already know.
  • Students before the age of puberty more easily gain native-like proficiency.

Why is the Spanish language a good choice for an immersion program?

  • In the United States, 1 of 7 persons is Hispanic.
  • By 2020, Hispanics are expected to account for half of the growth in the U.S. labor force.
  • Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world.
  • Spanish is a “gateway” language that will train the brain, thus making it easier to learn other languages.

Why would families choose Spanish immersion as an educational option?

  • Research shows that children are able to learn one, two, or multiple languages early in life, and they do so with ease.
  • Learning more than one language gives children cognitive advantages and increases cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Does learning to read and write in Spanish before English negatively impact a student’s academic progress?

  • Research clearly shows that students in a language immersion program regularly score higher on standardized reading tests in English than those students who are only taught in one language. Throughout the language acquisition process, immersion students may be able to read better in one language than the other. However, this is a normal part of learning to read, and eventually immersion students read at or above grade level in both languages.

How will implementing a language immersion program in a school benefit a community?

  • A language immersion program equips students to become Americans who are linguistically and culturally aware, increasing global competitiveness and communication.
  • A language immersion program expands students’ potential career opportunities in our increasingly shrinking and diverse world market.
  • A language immersion program fosters an inherent understanding of the world that prompts us to naturally cross linguistic and cultural boundaries.