chapter  4
29 Pages

Impacts of prior literacy experience on second language learning to read


During the past decade, unprecedented numbers of children and youth have undergone schooling in languages other than their native language. Although these numbers are continually growing, our understanding of how second-language reading skills develop is still limited. Since learning to read in a second language differs markedly from that in a first, it is essential that its unique characteristics be recognized and properly addressed in second-language literacy research. Dual-language involvement is one such distinction because learners bring their first-language linguistic knowledge, and possibly literacy skills, to the process of learning to read in a second language. In point of fact, one of the conclusions of a recent research synthesis is that oral proficiency and literacy in the first language can be used to promote literacy development in a second language (August & Shanahan, 2006).