Language immersion programs

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Language immersion programs

Immersion programs, or also called 2-way immersion programs, dual language programs, are programs in which children are educated in 2 languages from kindergarten to 12 th grade with the goal of full bilingualism and full biliteracy. Often these programs are public in California, and they can be offered in a variety of languages. Now, the foreign language is not taught as a foreign language. But the curriculum, the content is taught in that language. In a lot of programs, there is an emphasis on the minority or the target language early on, like Spanish, Italian or German. And then as children progress, there will be more and more introduction of English, and there would be some taking away of the other language. So that by 5th grade, children would be instructed 50% in one language and 50% in the other language. These programs have been shown to produce very positive educational outcomes and usually children by 5th grade, children in immersion programs often outperform children in regular English programs not only academically but even in the English language or in math, meaning that the overall being educated in two languages, or knowing two languages very well, not just the oral component, but also being able to read and write those languages, might give overall a cognitive edge that would result in higher academic achievement.

Watch Simona Montanari, PhD's video on Language immersion programs...


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Simona Montanari, PhD


Simona Montanari is Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on language development and second language acquisition in childhood. She received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California specializing in language development in monolingual and multilingual children. Dr. Montanari has published her research in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and she is regularly invited to present on early bilingualism and trilingualism locally and internationally. Dr. Montanari has also been involved in the creation and implementation of an Italian-English dual language program in the Glendale Unified School District, for which she continues to work as a consultant. Dr. Montanari has two trilingual and tri-literate daughters, six and seven years of age.

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