Book Review: One, Child, Two Languages: A Guide for Early Childhood Educators of Children Learning English

Mary Oz

Title: One, Child, Two Languages: A Guide for Early Childhood Educators of Children Learning English  as a Second Language
Author: Patton O. Tabors, Ed.D
ISBN: 9781557669216

Tabors has designed One Child, Two Languages as a concise guide to assist early childhood educators with understanding the task of English language acquisition from a young child’s perspective. She also suggests strategies and practices for educators to implement to facilitate English language acquisition. This book is a wonderful resource for novice as well as veteran educators who have dual language learners in their educational environment.

The book is well organized. Part One: The Second-Language-Learning Child’s Task describes how a typically developing child acquires their native, or first, language. Tabor then adds the second language component. She provides anecdotal narratives of classroom observations to exemplify concepts necessary for educators to know and understand regarding English language acquisition. She discusses the stages through which children typically develop, so educators may anticipate certain behaviors. For example, Tabor discusses the Nonverbal Period (aka the Silent Phase) as the stage at which a child may not communicate verbally. However, children often communicate through body language, gestures, or facial expressions during this period.

Part Two: The Teacher’s Role discusses topics important to educators for facilitating English language acquisition. She discusses the usual key topics teachers most frequently wonder about: organization of the classroom, curriculum, and assessment. She then adds the very important topic of including parents in the language acquisition process. Tabor outlines how to get parents involved and what teachers must know about their students and families to promote and support English learning . She provides a comprehensive explanation as to why continued development of the home language is necessary to promote English language development. After reading this section, educators will be better equipped to answer questions posed by many families regarding English language learning.

Tabor also includes appendices. Appendix A contains a sample questionnaire for families to fill out regarding the use of language and cultural traditions within the home. Tabor points out that a questionnaire such as this, which is also provided on the included CD, may best be filled out by the parent ahead of a one-on-one meeting. She states that some parents may have limited English themselves and may prefer to have time to answer these questions before a meeting. She also points out that parents may have better reading and writing skills as opposed to speaking and listening and that this added time will make parents more comfortable. Appendix B provides a thorough checklist to monitor student progress with added information for teachers about how to score student responses.

One of the very best components of this book is the Study Guide. This guide allows One Child, Two Languages to be easily adaptable to any professional growth setting including independent use, small groups of ESL professionals, and school/district faculty and staff.
Mary OZ has a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Saint Xavier University and is currently enrolled in courses for ESL endorsement at Saint Xavier University.
ITBE Link - July 2016