Helping Bilingual Learners

 APIE’s Director of Programs Pat Abrams is going to be sharing her thoughts and insights as a co-blogger. Watch for Pat’s posts most Mondays, starting today.

We received a note a few weeks ago from an Austin elementary teacher, asking APIE to come to her school. She shared some compelling statistics with us: “…while 34% of our first grade bilingual students are reading below grade level, that number increases substantially at the end of second grade, with 43% of bilingual students reading below grade level.” A nearly 10% drop in reading proficiency between first and second grade! When comparing 2nd graders based on their native language, the achievement gap is equally stark: 34% of native English speakers are reading below grade level compared to 43% of bilingual students. If you’re not alarmed yet, let’s add that over 80% of the students in this school are bilingual.

Imagine what it must be like to be a teacher, facing a classroom where nearly half the students are reading below grade level. Imagine how it feels to be a second grader, falling further and further behind. But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

With as little as one hour per week, APIE volunteers are helping students acquire the critical language fluency and comprehension skills needed to read on grade level. Our second grade classroom coaching program is offered in both English and Spanish to address the unique needs of bilingual learners. Ready to sign up? Visit our website at:

– Pat