Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Vocabulary Approach for Young Latino Dual Language Learners

Mendez, L.I., Crais, E.R., Castro, D.C. & Kainz. (2015). A culturally and linguistically responsive vocabulary approach for young Latino Dual Language Learners. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58, 93-106. doi: 10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0221.

Dual Language Learners (DLLs) know different words in each of their languages; as a result, they know fewer words in any one language than their monolingual peers.

The present study examined the impact of the language of vocabulary instruction in supporting the ability to understand English vocabulary in DLL from low income families attending Latino preschools. Instruction using only English as the language of vocabulary instruction was compared to using both Spanish (first language; L1) and English (second Language; L2).  
Spanish-speaking preschoolers were randomly assigned to either vocabulary instruction group. In each group, DLLs were presented with 30 words using similar shared reading instruction. In the dual language instruction group, the target words were presented first in L1 (Spanish) then in L2 (English), while in the single language group the target words were presented in English only.    

The main finding was that DLLs demonstrated higher vocabulary acquisition in English and Spanish when in the dual than single language instruction group. This result suggests that presenting English target words in L1 first might help DLLs to use the lexical and conceptual knowledge from L1 to facilitate learning in L2. Importantly, using both L1 and L2 as languages of vocabulary instruction supports language development in DLLs.

Blogger: Areej Balilah, PhD Candidate