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The relative importance of English versus Spanish language skills for low-income Latino English language learners' early language and literacy development

The association between monolingual children's early language abilities and their later reading performance is well established. However, for English language learners, the pattern of associations between early language skills and later literacy is much less well understood for English language learners. This study examined language predictors of preschool, low-income Latino English language learners' (N = 112) spring vocabulary and literacy skills. Only children's English language skills at the start of preschool, not Spanish or conceptual vocabulary (child received credit for knowledge of word in either English or Spanish), were significant predictors of subsequent vocabulary and literacy scores. In addition, vocabulary and language comprehension together accounted for more variance in spring performance than vocabulary alone. Finally, data from a small subset of parents (N = 21) suggested that the children's Spanish skills were being maintained through activities at home. Discussion focuses on the application of findings to assessment and practice in the preschool classrooms. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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