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e-Uluslararası Eğitim Araştırmaları Dergisi

Yıl 2010 , Cilt , Sayı 2

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Predictors of early reading development in a first and second language

Yazar kurumları :
Memorial University of Newfoundland Canada1
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As globalization becomes more widespread and countries become more multicultural, there is an increased need to understand how to effectively promote the learning of foreign languages. An important part of that process relates to understanding how reading develops when a child is learning a new language. Researchers’ focus on assessing students’ oral language proficiency in a second language has not provided as much insight as expected into that development. This paper reports on a study of grade one students whose first language was English and who were being schooled in French as a second language. The context provided an ideal case in which to investigate how well variables such as phonological awareness, word reading, memory, rapid automatized naming (RAN), and vocabulary, in addition to oral language proficiency, predict reading development in a first and second language. Methods involved testing 47 Canadian students at the beginning and end of the school year. Findings revealed that word reading was the sole variable that predicted reading development within and across time and for the first and second language. Phonological awareness and RAN were the next most important variables, followed by memory and vocabulary. Oral language proficiency did not play a significant role. The results of this study suggest that those involved in assessing young children’s first and second language reading should focus on word reading, phonological awareness, RAN and memory. As well, findings suggest that oral language proficiency in a foreign or second language may not be an accurate predictor of reading development.

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