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Every young child is in the process of learning a language and learning how language works. This is a mighty task for those young brains as they make sense of listening and talking, then reading and writing. Some children are learning more than one language at home, at school, or in their community. Early educators need to know how growing up with multiple languages can affect teaching and learning. Early educators must work with each child’s individual needs and abilities in both the broad and local cultural context.

Children who enter school speaking a language other than English are often identified as English language learners (ELLs). Early childhood educators debate the use of that term because they realize that all very young children in the ...

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