Previous cross-language research has focused on L1 phonological processing and its relation to L2 reading. Less extensive is the research on the effect that L1 orthographic processing skill has on L2 reading and spelling. This study was designed to investigate how reading and spelling acquisition in English (L2) is influenced by phonological and orthographic processing skills in Spanish (L1) in 89 Spanish-English bilingual children in grades 2 and 3. Comparable measures in English and Spanish tapping phonological and orthographic processing were administered to the bilingual children. We found that cross-language phonological and orthographic transfer occurs from Spanish to English. Specifically, the Spanish phoneme deletion task contributed a significant amount of unique variance to English word reading and spelling, for both real words and pseudowords. The Spanish homophone choice task predicted English reading, but not spelling. Taken together, these results suggest that there are shared phonological and orthographic processes in bilingual reading; however, orthographic patterns may be language specific, thereby not likely to transfer to spelling performance.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 10, 2009
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