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J Appl Dev Psychol. 2007 Mar;28(2):85-102.

Dual language and literacy development of Spanish-speaking preschool children.

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Campion Hall 126, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA.


This article describes oral language and early literacy skills in Spanish and English for a sample of 319 bilingual children in Massachusetts and Maryland (ECS) and a comparison group of 144 monolingual Spanish-speaking children in Puerto Rico (PRC). Children were assessed as they entered and exited pre-kindergarten programs. Data collection included four subtests of the Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery and a researcher-developed phonological awareness task. Results show that, on average, children in the ECS sample performed below average in both English and Spanish when compared to monolingual norms and, despite some early literacy and oral language gains during their pre-kindergarten year, continue to lag behind monolingual children of the same age. Children in the ECS sample performed better in the early literacy tasks than in the oral language tasks in both English and Spanish. On average, the PRC sample scored significantly better than the ECS sample in Spanish oral language skills, but lower in phonological awareness skills. Educational implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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