Though most teachers of all-English Language Learner classes understand the importance of supporting the home languages of their students, many other educators and community members are less familiar with its importance. I thought it would be useful to bring together a few related resources, and I’d love for readers to contribute more (you might also be interested in The Best Resources For International Mother Language Day) :

I’m going to start off with links to a recent three-part series on the topic that appeared at my Education Week Teacher column:

ELL Students’ Home Language Is an Asset, Not a ‘Barrier’

Understanding the Benefits of a Student’s Home Language

Home Language Support ‘Helps Learners Navigate Both Worlds’

The Home Language: An English Language Learner’s Most Valuable Resource is from Colorin Colorado.

Fostering Literacy Development in English Language Learners is also from Colorin Colorado and includes a section on home languages.

“But What If I Don’t Know English?” is another great resource from Colorin Colorado, and it’s available in Spanish and and in English. It shares ideas on how parents who don’t speak English can still help their children develop literacy skills.

4 Reasons Parents Should Speak Heritage Languages at Home is a useful article for teachers who have immigrant students.

Quote Of The Day: “It Is Lovely To Speak Your Native Language”

How has language shaped your world? is an important feature from The Los Angeles Times that shares answers from readers to the question: How has language shaped your world?

Here’s one:

I’m probably the youngest kid ever to be kicked out of first grade. Born in Seattle to immigrant parents, I was kicked out one school day in 1952 for not being able to speak English. My parents wanted me to be bilingual in Cantonese and English, but that was not to be. To get me back in school, they had to promise never to speak Chinese in our presence. They kept their promise and I ended up with fractured Cantonese.

Seven reasons for teachers to welcome home languages in education is from The British Council.

Integrating DLLs’ Home Language in the Classroom Does Not Hobble English Learning, New Study Finds is from New America.

Banning immigrants’ languages can backfire. Just ask Ohio and Indiana. is from The Washington Post.

‘Why don’t you speak Spanish?’: For Julián Castro and millions of Latinos, the answer is not so simple is from The Washington Post.

New Survey Examines Teacher Beliefs About Bilingualism is from New America.

Reading in Any Language Improves Reading Levels in English is from Language Magazine.


The Importance of Home Language Series is from Head Start.

The Promise & Peril Of Using Google Translate In The ELL Classroom – Share Your Ideas

Diversity: How should learners’ own languages be used in the classroom? is from The British Council.

KEEPING YOUR HOME LANGUAGE is from Care For Newcomer Children.

WIDA has multilingual resources to help parents understanding the academic importance of supporting their children in their home language. Go to this page, and then scroll down to “Tips For Parents and Families.”

Strategies for Supporting Young Students’ Home-Language Development During COVID-19—and Beyond is from The American Institutes for Research.

Should we allow students to use L1 in an English class? is from Blogging Crazy.

3 Strategies to Honor Students’ Language Assets is from ELLevation.

Why, When and How to Use L1 in the Classroom is from The Barefoot TEFL Teacher.

8 Myths About Using L1 in Your Classroom is from The Barefoot TEFL Teacher.

Carving out space for mother tongues* in the YL classroom is from IATEFL.

Encouraging the Use of Home Languages is from Learn Alberta.

Why Heritage Language is Important for Immigrant Origin Children’s Development & Learning is from Harvard.