I have been asked the past year and a half about children being in French Immersion and not being able to read in English. I found a good answer to this on the Government Ontario Education website.
Q: Won't my child's English spelling suffer?
A. Although there is a certain lag in English language arts the first few years of the program, this is almost all made up during the first year English is introduced. By the end of the elementary grades many Immersion students perform better than children in the regular program on several aspects of measured English skills
Can students learn skills in one language and transfer them to another?
Yes, yes, yes!
The goal of French Immersion and Extended French programs is to develop proficiency, not just in French but in English as well – Canada’s two official languages. This goal is based on solid research. Studies show that if your child develops abilities in French, this will help your child continue to improve in English.
There are many skills and abilities that transfer between different languages. These can include phonetic skills, comprehension strategies, higher-order thinking skills and familiarity with text formats, such as books, manuals, recipes and websites. This explains why children who are literate in one language are likely to have
an advantage in learning a second. It also explains why your child’s developing proficiency in French will not limit his or her growth in mastering English.
Parents can play a big role in supporting their child’s success in French. Below are some of the literacy skills that can be transferred from one language to another.
• Understanding how we learn and think – when we come to know how we think and what helps us learn, we grow in our ability to apply this knowledge to new learning. When we recognize our unique strengths and ways of learning, we can apply this in every language we use.
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