The English Speaking Strategies of Spanish‐Speaking Bilingual Children

TESOL Quarterly 01/2012; 22(2):333 - 340. DOI: 10.2307/3586941
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    ABSTRACT: Latino/a children who attend schools in the United States must learn English well for schooling success. However, bilingualism is associated with achievement in both cognition and general literacy, which are core components of academic development. We examined the growth of Spanish reading comprehension among 101 Spanish-English bilingual Latino/a children in second through fifth grade in three urban U.S. districts. The students received literacy instruction in one of three groups: English-only, Spanish-only, and bilingual. Language of instruction had a significant effect on Spanish reading, but students who received Spanish language instruction were losing Spanish literacy skills relative to the norming sample for the reading assessment. English reading and Spanish vocabulary were predictive of Spanish reading, but socioeconomic variables were not. Heritage language loss is described as paradoxical because Spanish and English reading skills are intertwined and biliteracy is associated with better economic opportunities for Latino/as in the U.S. job market.
    Journal of Social Issues 03/2010; 66(1):79 - 94. · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of some aspects of the Arabic phonological system on spelling English words. In Study 1, the spelling performance of Arabic students from grades four and six was compared with English students in cognate phoneme pairs which exist across both languages (/d/ and /t/), and pairs in which only one of the phonemes exists in Arabic (/b/ and /p/, /f/ and /v/) using a spelling test which contained words with the target phonemes. The findings showed that the Arabic participants performed similarly to the English participants on the phonemes /t/ and /d/, but they tended to spell the phonemes /b/, /p/, /f/, and /v/ using their cognate pairs more often than the English participants did. In Study 2, the spelling performance of Arabic students was compared across grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 for the same target phonemes. The analyses showed no difference between the Arabic participants in how often they confused the target phonemes with their cognate pairs across the different grade levels, except for the phonemes /p/ and /v/, for which the effect size was small. The findings of this study demonstrate the importance of phonology in spelling, as well as the influence of the first language on spelling in a second language. They also indicate that Arabic students continue to be dependent on phonological processes when spelling English words even as they grow older. KeywordsArabic–Consonants–Cross-language–English–Phonemic-awareness–Phonology–Second language–Spelling
    Reading and Writing 01/2011; 24(9):1089-1110. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared the English spelling of native Spanish-speaking children receiving English-only instruction with monolingual native English speaking children at the end of kindergarten. In invented spelling, young bilingual children can show us how they perceive the unique sounds of English by the way they map English letters onto non-Spanish sounds. The spelling of non-Spanish phonemes and English and Spanish stop consonants differing in voice onset time were examined. The relationship of plausible English spelling with English vocabulary knowledge was also investigated. The bilingual kindergarteners had significantly fewer correct spellings of ending stop consonants, which differ phonetically in English and Spanish, than did the monolingual group. No significant difference between the two groups at the end of kindergarten was found when spelling non-Spanish phonemes however. The lexical restructuring model was applied to explain a positive correlation between vocabulary and plausible English spellings. KeywordsBilingual-English language instruction-Invented spelling-Spanish language
    Reading and Writing 01/2010; 23(5):495-513. · 1.44 Impact Factor