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Ensure Success for Your Elementary Spanish Program

Recent studies point to the fact that world language education seems to be declining in the United States. In K-12 education, just 20% of students study a world language. The percentage is even worse at the elementary level—even though the benefits are clear. As our world economy and cultures become more interconnected, we need world language education in elementary schools now more than ever. If you are considering starting a new elementary Spanish program or improving an existing one, you can ensure success by following these guidelines.

Realize the Benefits

Advocating for elementary language education should be easy as the benefits are numerous and well-documented. Early language learners take advantage of using the part of their brain with which they learn their native language, and this facilitates language learning. Early language programs take advantage of learner’s capacities to learn through play and the arts. This is turn creates a positive connotation with learning languages which helps to create life-long language learners.

Learning a second language early in life provides cognitive benefits. Research suggests direct correlations to improved problem-solving skills, critical-thinking skills, listening, executive function, and memory. Language learning also improves academic achievement. Students who learn language at the elementary level show improved outcomes in other content areas, score higher on standardized tests, and they generally perform better at the college level.

It is also clear that second language study promotes cultural sensitivity and tolerance. Learners develop a more positive attitude towards the cultures that are studied. This enables students to more effectively participate in our diverse, global society.

Choose a Curriculum that Is Articulated

Many districts make the mistake of following a strategy in which they don’t put enough value on a well-articulated elementary world language curriculum. They believe all they have to do is expose students to Spanish. This leads to shoddy execution and classes that do not have an impact on students. No district would choose to simply expose students to math, so why is it done with world language?

What is needed is an elementary world language curriculum that utilizes an articulated scope and sequence. The Sonrisas Spanish curriculum does just that. Each level of the curriculum includes an articulated scope and sequence with a range of age-appropriate lesson themes that provide a comprehensive elementary Spanish education. This also provides a clear path for teachers to follow.

Sonrisas not only includes scope and sequence for each level in the program, but the company has also created a trademarked methodology—Acquire, Develop, Learn—which guides the way the different levels of the curriculum work together. Acquire, Develop, Learn ensures a developmentally appropriate approach to elementary world language instruction.

Look for Identified Language Outcomes

A good world language curriculum needs to have identified language outcomes. These provide focus for instructors and guide them as they plan, teach, and assess. Identified language outcomes provide a clear picture of what students should know and be able to do with their language skills. Sonrisas Spanish provides identified language outcomes in two ways.

First, at the lesson level, each lesson includes performance targets. These are the specific vocabulary, phrases, and language concepts that students should know after they have completed the lesson. These also guide the summative assessments for the curriculum.

Second, Sonrisas Spanish identifies language outcomes with the Sonrisas Spanish World-Readiness Standards Alignment Guide. It reflects the continuum of growth in communication skills that learners achieve with instruction in the Sonrisas Spanish lessons. The guide defines the impact that the Sonrisas curriculum has on learner’s Spanish proficiency. It demonstrates that learner’s progress from the Novice Low to the Intermediate Low proficiency level as they advance through the Sonrisas curriculum.

The Sonrisas Spanish curriculum ensures the success of your program by using an articulated approach and identifying language outcomes. It provides a comprehensive and effective solution for your elementary Spanish needs, and it prepares students for higher level Spanish courses in middle and high school. Learners also realize the many benefits of world language education, and you see improved student outcomes in your schools. Request a free sample today.


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