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BALANCED BILINGUALISM

Balanced Bilingualism: Does it Affect Reading Scores?

Should the goal for English language learners be balanced bilingualism or English only? This is the question of debate across the United States. In The Influence of Bilingualism on English Reading Scores, Lucido and Mceachern describe a study that provides insight to this question.

The investigation examines the English reading scores of a group of primary aged children in a dual language program. The sample included three seven-year-olds and nine eight-year-olds. They received instruction in English and Spanish for two years. The students were given a battery of tests in English and Spanish. The tests consisted of oral language proficiency in English and Spanish, and a reading test in English. The research article includes a table that provides detailed information about the studentsí primary language, oral language proficiency scores in English and Spanish, and English reading scores.

In analyzing the data, the authors discuss the importance of considering the studentís cognitive development when interpreting language scores. They suggest that cognitive development effects language development. In addition, they differentiate among different levels of bilingualism by comparing oral language proficiency in both languages.

Based on the results, the researchers conclude that being English dominant did not indicate success on the English reading comprehension scores. Lucindo and Mceachern found that balanced language development does not appear to have any negative influence on English reading comprehension. Moreover, the students who demonstrated oral fluency in both languages received the highest English reading scores.

This study provides significant data, although the sample is small. Further investigations of bilingual students in dual programs may yield promising information on the effects of bilingualism on English proficiency.

Lucido, F. & Mceachern, W. (2000). The influence of bilingualism on English reading scores. Reading Improvement, 37, 87-91

 
 
 

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