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Dev Psychol. 2013 Oct;49(10):1943-57. doi: 10.1037/a0031408. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Developmental trajectories of preschool early literacy skills: a comparison of language-minority and monolingual-English children.

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1
Department of Psychology and the Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University.

Abstract

This study utilized latent growth-curve analyses to determine if the early literacy skills of children who were Spanish-speaking language-minority (LM) followed a similar quantitative growth profile over a preschool year as that of a group of children from a comparable socioeconomic (SES) background but who were not LM. Participants, who ranged in age from 37 to 60 months (M = 50.73; SD = 5.04), included 540 Spanish-speaking LM and 408 non-LM children (47% girls) who were enrolled in 30 Head Start classrooms. Scores on a measure of oral language and measures of code-related skills (i.e., phonological awareness, print knowledge) were lower for LM children than for non-LM children. LM children experienced significantly faster growth in oral language skills than did non-LM children. Growth for print knowledge and blending was similar for LM and non-LM children, whereas LM children experienced slightly less growth than non-LM children on elision. The inclusion of child (i.e., initial language scores, age, nonverbal cognitive ability) and family (i.e., maternal/paternal education, 2-parent household, father employment) variables eliminated initial differences between LM and non-LM children on the code-related variables, and the effect was due primarily to children's initial oral language skills. These results indicate that the early risk for reading-related problems experienced by Spanish-speaking LM children is due both to low SES and to their LM status, and they highlight the critical need for the development, evaluation, and deployment of early instructional programs for LM children with limited English oral language proficiency.

PMID:
23316767
DOI:
10.1037/a0031408
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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