Anchorage School District

World Languages

Why study another language?

Children who study foreign languages statistically outperform nonlanguage students in language, math, science and social studies. -Carolyn Taylor, 2004  
During the 2012-13 school year…
1,895 students (PDF) in grades K-12 participated in one of the district's language immersion programs. These programs prepare students for our diverse and multilingual global community.

Academic benefits

Research shows that students benefit academically from the study of a second language and gain positive attitudes about other cultures and languages. Click on the "answer" links below to read more about these studies on the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Web site.

  • How does language learning support academic achievement? Answer »
  • How does language learning provide cognitive benefits to students? Answer »
  • How does language learning affect attitudes and beliefs about language learning and about other cultures? Answer »

Why immersion?

  • Early start
  • Native-like pronunciation
  • Extended sequence leading to higher proficiency levels
  • Better match with curriculum
  • Cognitively challenging
  • Culturally responsive


Read more

Kids learn a second language easily - but how? (PDF)
Researchers hope to grease the bilingual skids for adults
Anchorage Daily News, June 21, 2009
by Lauran Neergaard

Early Launch for Language
Young Children Have Advantage, but Linguists Say Lessons Benefit All

The Washington Post, February 16, 2009
by Valerie Strauss

What is Immersion?
The Washington Post, February 16, 2009

The Importance of Early Language Study: Changing Students' Minds - and Brains?
Karelia Pallan, National Capital Language Resource Center

What Parents Want to Know About Foreign Language Immersion Programs
Tara W. Fortune and Diane J. Tedick, University of Minnesota
ERIC Digest August 2003 EDO-FL-03-04

Foreign Language Immersion Program
Features and Trends Over 35 Years
Ashely Lenker and Nancy Rhodes, Center for Applied Linguistics
CAL digests, February 2007


Benefits of being multilingual

Career opportunities

The need for individuals who can speak and understand languages other than English is acute in many sectors in the United States, from business and social services to national security and diplomacy. The September 26, 2001, report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (H.R. Rep. No. 107-219, 2001) identified language as the single greatest need in the intelligence community.

Uncle Sam wants you to learn a foreign language



Senator Murkowski on the importance of language learning

Senator Lisa Murkowski on the importance of language learning

In the August 2009 issue of The Language Educator Senator Murkowski spoke to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) about language education. Read the full article here »


The Year of LanguagesAmerican Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

During 2005, The Year of Languages, the ACTFL published the following advertisements:

Learning a foreign language should be elementary  

Now, more than ever, our children need to learn another language. So they can communicate, understand others and compete in a global environment. For the sake of our kids, it's time to speak up for language education.

Download flyer »



Make sure foreign language remains part of your child’s education. To succeed in this shrinking world, our children will need to speak more than one language. So for the sake of our kids, speak up for language education.

Download flyer »


Give him the world



Foreign language education spells success  

Foreign language education spells success. Improve academic performance. Raise SAT scores. Create more opportunities for success in tomorrow’s international economy. That’s what learning another language can do for your child. So speak up for language education.

Download flyer »



The five C's of foreign language education
"Comparisons - Develop insight into the nature of language and culture"
Learn more about the national standards »
Standard: Communication "The process of learning a language immediately puts one's native tongue and culture into perspective."
-Natasa Masanovic, PhD., Assistant Professor and Coordinator of German, University of Alaska Anchorage

Curriculum Department

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