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Support Translanguaging With Environmental Print
—Cecilia M. Espinosa and Laura Ascenzi-Moreno

About the Authors

Cecilia M. Espinosa, Ph.D., is an associate professor in Early Childhood and Childhood Education at Lehman College/CUNY, Bronx, New York.

Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Childhood, Bilingual, and Special Education Department at Brooklyn College’s School of Education in Brooklyn, New York.

Expert Idea

Environmental Print

Translanguaging is a new way of thinking about language and the language practices of emergent bilinguals. Translanguaging recognizes that emergent bilinguals need to use their entire linguistic and sociocultural repertoires to make sense, to construct meaning, to learn, to express, and to reflect. It is a way of thinking that takes the whole student into consideration and allows you to root your teaching practices in students’ strengths.

One of the ways we can support translanguaging is by immersing our students in a trove of multilingual print. The ways in which language is experienced in schools—whether across the environment or via the members of the school community—is referred to as linguistic landscape. Paying attention to the linguistic landscapes of your school and classroom is critically important because it sends a powerful message to students and families that their languages and linguistic repertoire are valued. Additionally, an accurate linguistic landscape—one that truly matches the languages of the children in your classroom—serves as an important resource to emergent bilingual students.

You can design your classroom environment, whether inside a school building or online, to reflect the language practices of your students and expose them to language practices other than their own.

Teach It

Tip Sheet Image

Download the Teaching Tips for ideas on how to adapt multilingual environmental print to a remote landscape.

Tip Sheet Image

Download the Multilingual Analysis of Classroom Environmental Print Chart to make notes on the print in your environment.


Watch and Learn

In this video from Scholastic’s LitCamp, Cecilia and Laura explain Translanguaging and talk about how the practice promotes the sense of belonging.

Learn More

  • Read a Sample Chapter
    Click here to read about environmental print in this excerpt from Rooted in Strength.
  • Order the Book
    Click here to order Rooted in Strength: Using Translanguaging to Grow Multilingual Readers and Writers.