Emerging Literacy Instruction for Bilingual Children

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Things to Consider When Choosing which Language:

  • language history and relative experience with each language,
  • frequency of use for each language,
  • proficiency in each language, including how well the individual understands and produces each language,
  • environment, including where and with whom the child uses each language,
  • family considerations and goals.

ASHA Says…

“In bilingual children, it is suspected that acquiring a “certain level of proficiency in L1 (primary language) should achieve comparable levels of proficiency in L2 (second language)” (Gutierrez-Clellen, 1999, p. 292). Treating targets common to both languages may be most beneficial in some populations before expanding to target features exclusive to just one language.”

Possible Treatment Approaches:

  • Instruct on literacy in primary language and hope it carries over
  • Instruct primarily on literacy in primary language but include second language as well (focus first on sounds and words that are the same or similar in both languages)
  • Instruct on literacy in the second language if the child has fairly proficient skills in second language (especially if that is the language that will be used at school and for other literacy instruction)


Source: http://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589935225&section=Key_Issues