Doing more with less: the impact of lexicon on dual-language learners’ writing

Doing more with less: the impact of lexicon on dual-language learners’ writing Dual-language learner (DLL) children typically learn to write while still learning English, with vocabulary appearing to be a particularly vulnerable domain. This study investigates how a reduced English lexicon impacts English writing in DLL children. Participants were 100 Spanish-speaking DLLs and 100 of their monolingual classmates in first through fourth grades. Children were administered standardized tests of decoding and vocabulary and a written narrative task. Narratives were analyzed for productivity, complexity, and accuracy. DLL children performed comparably to monolingual children on productivity and complexity measures. However, they differed in measures of orthographic, lexical, and morphological accuracy. They also differed in vocabulary scores. When controlling for differences in vocabulary, no differences between the DLL and monolingual groups in accuracy were found. In addition, the DLL children used a greater proportion of literate language features in their texts than the monolinguals did. The results suggest that improving DLL children’s vocabulary would improve their writing in multiple areas. The possibility of a DLL advantage in literate language is addressed in the context of the children’s need to regularly switch between their home and school languages. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

Doing more with less: the impact of lexicon on dual-language learners’ writing

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Linguistics; Language and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education, general; Neurology; Literacy
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-016-9656-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Dual-language learner (DLL) children typically learn to write while still learning English, with vocabulary appearing to be a particularly vulnerable domain. This study investigates how a reduced English lexicon impacts English writing in DLL children. Participants were 100 Spanish-speaking DLLs and 100 of their monolingual classmates in first through fourth grades. Children were administered standardized tests of decoding and vocabulary and a written narrative task. Narratives were analyzed for productivity, complexity, and accuracy. DLL children performed comparably to monolingual children on productivity and complexity measures. However, they differed in measures of orthographic, lexical, and morphological accuracy. They also differed in vocabulary scores. When controlling for differences in vocabulary, no differences between the DLL and monolingual groups in accuracy were found. In addition, the DLL children used a greater proportion of literate language features in their texts than the monolinguals did. The results suggest that improving DLL children’s vocabulary would improve their writing in multiple areas. The possibility of a DLL advantage in literate language is addressed in the context of the children’s need to regularly switch between their home and school languages.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: May 18, 2016

References

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