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Dual Language Theme

“Effective thematic instruction involves using a theme as ‘conceptual glue’ for learners, strengthening bonds to knowledge,” writes Susan Kovalik (2005). Thematic instruction has been shown to increase student achievement (Beane, 1997; Kovalik, 1994). Effective instruction presents new information by reaching out to existing knowledge rather than presenting skills and facts in isolation.
Dual Language instruction is enriched when teachers use thematic units with their students.
Thematic units integrate content area information with the teaching of the four major language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Engaging students in activities in which they must think critically, provides them with the opportunity to use targeted language in a meaningful way.
The Attanasio Dual Language Theme Collections are specifically designed to support dual language instruction. The themes chosen:

– are appropriate for the students’ grade and developmental levels and incorporate exciting fiction.
– include nonfiction titles for an interdisciplinary approach.
– aid in increasing knowledge of academic vocabulary while increasing frequency of words in students’ comfort zone.
– contain authentic literature and/or adaptations in Spanish and English, not direct translations which may be confusing and inaccurate.
– align with units presented in grade level anthologies by major publishers.

For dual language students, thematic units provide an opportunity to use their second language as the focus of their communication skills; they integrate content-area information and quality literature into daily work. There are coherent connections among disciplines that allow for the transfer of learning from one context to another.
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