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March 19th, 2013 at 5:01 am

What are dual language immersion programs?

Have you ever heard of dual language immersion programs? As bilingualism is becoming more and more popular in the U.S., more of these programs seem to be popping up around the nation and they’re a great option. Although they can differ a bit depending on the school, the most simple way to define these programs is that kids are instructed in both English and Spanish (or English and whatever the target language may be) throughout their elementary education, allowing them to become fluent in both their languages.

The majority of these programs start off with 90% of the instruction in Spanish (or the target language) and 10% in English. While it might seem like those children who are not already bilingual will have a hard time understanding what’s going on if the majority of their instruction is in a language they don’t know, the truth is that they catch up very fast, since immersion is the best way to learn a new language.

Dual language immersion programs are great for kids who are already bilingual too because most of them usually don’t get to learn the mechanics of both their languages. I’d give anything to have one of these programs in my community because even though my daughter is already bilingual, I’m not a teacher and so I constantly worry about her grammar abilities in Spanish, since she’s being schooled in English only.

If you’ve been thinking about raising bilingual children, I recommend you check out if there are any dual language immersion programs in your area. You can always start your research on the bilingual education directory we have on

Photo Credit: Chicago 2016 Photos

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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1 Comment on 'What are dual language immersion programs?'

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  1. Hola,
    The majority of programs are not 90/10. The 50/50 model is as popular and growing much faster, especially in languages other than Spanish. The State of Utah has 77 state supported 50/50 Dual Language Immersion programs in Chinese, French, Portuguese or Spanish for 2012-13, and only one 90/10 Charter school.

    In addition, Los Angeles Unified School District has move all 42 of its Dual Language Immersion programs in Chinese, Korean or Spanish to 50/50.

    Learn more by watching this video:


    Gregg Roberts

    24 Mar 13 at 4:40 am

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