This study examines the understanding and enactment of reading in English and Spanish of four Hispanic bilingual first-graders, whose teachers considered to be developing readers in their classroom language. Two of the children initially received formal literacy instruction in Spanish, later transitioning into English literacy instruction, while the other two children received formal literacy instruction only in English. Data were collected through classroom observations of literacy instruction; interviews with children, teachers, and parents; recordings of home reading sessions; informal reading sessions; and a dynamic reading assessment in each language. The findings indicated differences between the children—favoring the Spanish-classroom children—regarding their effectiveness at decoding and applying comprehension strategies to their English and Spanish reading, as well as their bilingual and biliterate identities. The advantages of the two Spanish-classroom children were attributed to several factors: First, their families acted on their desire for their children to become biliterate by placing them in the Spanish-classroom. Second, the children were developing strong literacy skills in Spanish, a language that they knew well, and a language with a more transparent orthographic system than English. Third, the explicitness of the strategic reading instruction they received seemed to contribute to their effective use of making connections across text and life, predicting, and evoking prior knowledge. The comparative data on the English-classroom children and Spanish-classroom children showed that the Spanish instruction the children received at home had less of an impact on their biliteracy development than the formal Spanish instruction the Spanish classroom children were provided at school.
|Advisor:||Garcia, Georgia E.|
|School:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Bilingual education, Multicultural education, Elementary education, Literacy, Reading instruction, Hispanic Americans|
|Keywords:||Bilingual, Bilingual reading, English, First graders, Hispanic, Hispanic children, Reading, Reading strategies, Spanish|
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