Since the student body has diversified in recent years, the Linn-Mar School District in eastern Iowa is launching its own E-L-L program, or English Language Learners. Teacher Lisa Klein says in her classrooms every day, the students speak a total of 15 languages other than English.
Klein says “We have children who speak French, Swahili, Romanian, Russian and Spanish. They know enough language to survive on the playground or in a restaurant but they don’t know enough to be successful in school, so I?m working on academic English.” Seven-year-old student Kathleen Stephen speaks three languages. Her family moved here from India, so she’s most familiar with Hindi. That’s actually the program’s most common language.
Stephen says “We are learning about plants and we sometimes read.” Klein says simple concepts like reading books and singing songs are the best way kids catch on to English. Whatever their language of choice, Klein says the rules are for students to speak English-only inside the school walls.