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July 5, 2007

Oregon may teach foreign languages in grade school

Gena Kittner:

Even as they are first taught to read, kindergartners here could be learning to say hello, goodbye and much more in Japanese, German, Spanish, Arabic or another foreign language.

The Oregon School District is considering teaching a different language at each of the district's three elementary schools, starting in kindergarten and continuing through fourth grade.

It's an idea that has been tried in the Menasha School District for about 14 years and one that's getting more interest from districts around the state.

"Our hope is that in fall of 2008 we will get this up and running," said Courtney Odorico, Oregon School Board member. "The idea is the kids don't learn to be (just) Spanish speakers; they learn to be language learners. Kids are going to need to learn a second language."

The program, which needs board approval, integrates the foreign language into lessons on science, math and language arts -- in addition to a dedicated class just for language instruction every other day. It could be phased in over several years, continuing to the middle school and high school.

Smart. Great to see some public districts increasing academic opportunities (Virtual language learning is also on offer in some local schools).

Posted by Jim Zellmer at July 5, 2007 5:54 AM
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