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The Acquisition of Heritage Languages

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Academic Paper


Title: French immersion experience and reading skill development in at-risk readers
Author: Richard S. Kruk
Institution: University of Manitoba
Author: Kristen A. A. Reynolds
Institution: University of Manitoba
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Phonology
Subject Language: English
French
Abstract: We tracked the developmental influences of exposure to French on developing English phonological awareness, decoding and reading comprehension of English-speaking at-risk readers from Grade 1 to Grade 3. Teacher-nominated at-risk readers were matched with not-at-risk readers in French immersion and English language programs. Exposure to spoken French phonetic and syllabic forms and to written French orthographic and morphological forms by children attending French immersion programs was expected to promote phonological, decoding and reading comprehension achievement. Growth in all outcomes was found, with children in immersion experiencing higher final status in phonological awareness and more rapid growth and higher final status in decoding, using multilevel modeling. At-risk readers in French immersion experienced faster growth and higher final status in reading comprehension. Benefits to reading of exposure to an additional language are discussed in relation to cross-language transfer, phonological grain size and enhanced executive control processes.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .



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