Literacy and bilingualism Livija Knaflič
Summary: Literacy and language are tools for learning. Not all children learn to read and write in their mother tongue. There is an estimate, that more than a half of school children around the world are bilingual; bilingualism is becoming frequent in Slovenian schools too. The paper demonstrates dimensions of literacy and bilingualism and their interactions in the process of schooling. Among bilingual children in our schools we have minority (Hungarian, Italian and Roma children) and migrant children, who are a vulnerable group and at risk of school underachievement. Migrant children usually meet the Slovenian language at the beginning of their schooling. At once they have double task: acquisition of knowledge in a language they are not proficient in and to learn the language. Migrant families are usually busy with economic survival and adaptation to the new environment and they do not know the school system enough to be able to help the child. Experience shows that the help for migrant children is more effective when all participants: the child, the family and the school, are included. It would be useful for teachers and school staff to receive appropriate training for better organization and effectiveness of school work.