Applied Psycholinguistics



Articles

The role of home literacy and language environment on bilinguals' English and Spanish vocabulary development


ELISABETH DUURSMA a1c1, SILVIA ROMERO-CONTRERAS a1, ANNA SZUBER a1, PATRICK PROCTOR a1, CATHERINE SNOW a1, DIANE AUGUST a2 and MARGARITA CALDERÓN a3
a1 Harvard Graduate School of Education
a2 Center for Applied Linguistics
a3 CRESPAR

Abstract

For the monolingual population, research has shown that vocabulary knowledge is closely related to reading achievement. However, the role of vocabulary has not been studied as extensively in the bilingual population. It is important to look at vocabulary to better understand reading achievement in the bilingual population in the United States. This study investigated the predictors of Spanish and English vocabulary for 96 fifth-grade Latino English language learners. Our results suggest that becoming or staying proficient in English did not require parental use of English in the home. However, proficiency in Spanish required both instructional support at school and social support at home; it is likely that the low social status of Spanish is related to its greater dependence on home support.

(Received July 6 2005)
(Accepted June 7 2006)


Correspondence:
c1 Elisabeth Duursma, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Appian Way, 3 Larsen, Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail: duursman@gse.harvard.edu


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