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Does starting early help with learning a language?

August 7, 2013

In less that a month, Saline Area Schools (with funding support from the Foundation for Saline Area Schools) will begin to teach kindergarten to 3rd grade students Spanish.  We are excited about the opportunity for our community embrace learning a language at a young age.  As a district, we have been providing World Language options for students from 7 through 12 grade.

A recent article in Foreign Language Annals by Beverly Boyson, Martha Semmer, and Lynn Thompson, and Marcia Rosenbusch highlights their comparison of Westport, Connecticut students who started French in kindergarten and students who had French only in grades 5-8. They looked at students’ oral and listening comprehension at the end of fifth and eighth grade, and found that students who started French in kindergarten and had it every year through middle school did significantly better, providing:

“powerful quantitative evidence to support the early-start, long-sequence K-8 program as an effective model,” say the authors.

We are hopeful that similar results will be achieved in Saline.

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