Experience with Immersion Programs- How Does It Affect Children's Reading?

Updated on November 07, 2011
C.L. asks from Arcadia, CA
4 answers

I'm considering a public Spanish immersion program in Monrovia, CA for my daughter who could start kindergarten next year. I'm not familiar with the program, but wondered how this affects their learning to read in English- is it confusing? Spanish is so much more straightforward phonetically, would this make it harder to learn to read and write English?

Are there other possible drawbacks of such a program?

I'd appreciate feedback from anyone who has done an immersion program. We are English-only at home.

Thank you!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I don't have experience with this firsthand, but my brother's friend enrolled his young son in such a program. He totally struggled and and started doing very poorly in school and it affected his confidence greatly. Eventually they pulled him out of the program because he was very behind in his studies. Of course every child is different,however. But when you consider such a program, keep in mind how ESL students generally struggle in our California classes. Something to consider. Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is in 3rd grade at a Spanish immersion school. Things are going great. It is amazing to see how easy its been for her to learn Spanish. She speaks with perfect pronunciation. At least for my daughter, learning to read in Spanish transferred easily to reading in English. She is at grade level or higher for her English reading and this is really the first year she is starting formal English reading. We have been very happy with the program. Knowing Spanish gives my daughter a lot of esteem and this will just increase as time goes on. The one thing I wanted to give my daughter was the gift of a second language. An immersion program makes it easy to do that. I totally recommend it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Hi there,

Our son is in a French immersion program (English only at home) and we chose this school not only for the way the program teaches but also because of the many benefits children obtain by learning 2 (or more) languages at a very young age. Studies have shown that while children may seem to lag in the beginning, their brains develop in a different way and usually outperform non-bilingual learning children.

Immersion school children's brain is often more developed in the logic department as well. Students not only gain skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking in both English and the second language but their academic achievements equal or better those attained by peers in English-only programs. Here is a link to a study: http://www.carla.umn.edu/immersion/acie/vol12/no1/bridgeI.... If you just google immersion school brain development, you will get a host of articles and studies that you can read that may better answer your questions.

We have been very satisfied. I think of it like this - how much do I wish I could speak a 2nd language as if it were my first? It would have been so great to have had this opportunity as a child, so I want to make sure to give it to my child if I am able.

Best of luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

There are many different types of programs. Are you referring to a bilingual program or two way immersion program? When you say immersion, that means everything will be taught in a second language. I don't have experience with that, but both of my daughters are in a bilingual program where at least 50% of their instruction is in Spanish. One is in second grade right now and the other in kinder. We love the program and know the educational benefits they receive. My oldest daughter is already biliterate! Studies show children who are part of bilingual programs may show some signs of lagging in growth but end up outperforming their monolingual peers in the long run. Learning two languages actually develops the brain differently. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be part of such a program. By the way I am a regular education teacher who prefers to have my own children in a bilingual program.

1 mom found this helpful
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