On the benefits of bi-literacy: just a head start in reading or specific orthographic insights?

On the benefits of bi-literacy: just a head start in reading or specific orthographic insights? In a previous study [Schwartz et al. (2005). Written Language and Literacy, 8, 179–207] we showed that early literacy in Russian (L1) facilitated decoding acquisition in Hebrew (L2) among Russian-Hebrew first graders. The present study examined two alternative explanations for this finding. The first account concerns the general benefits of an early start in literacy. The second relates to the specific meta-linguistic insights engendered by early exposure to a fully fledged orthography—Russian. We therefore compared two groups who had acquired literacy prior to the onset of schooling: bi-literate bilinguals (Russian L1 literates and Hebrew L2 learners) (n = 26) and early-literacy monolinguals (Hebrew-speaking monolinguals) (n = 18). The research was conducted in two stages. First, linguistic, meta-linguistic and cognitive tasks in Hebrew were administered to all children and in Russian to the bilinguals at the beginning of the first grade. Next, reading and writing skills in Hebrew were assessed at the end of the first grade. Bi-literate bilinguals showed superior levels of phonological awareness on an initial phoneme isolation task in Hebrew compared to other three groups. In addition, the bi-literate bilinguals were found to be superior to the early-literacy monolinguals on measures of word and pseudoword accuracy, which are known to depend heavily on phonological processing efficiency, but not on fluency and spelling measures, which are more reliant on stored orthographic information. This pattern of outcomes was attributed to the facilitating effects of an orthography characterized by a fully fledged alphabet, in contrast to Hebrew’s primarily consonantal orthography, as well as the complex syllabic structure of Russian. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

On the benefits of bi-literacy: just a head start in reading or specific orthographic insights?

Loading next page...
Springer Netherlands
Copyright © 2007 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Linguistics; Language and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education, general; Neurology; Literacy
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial