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Language and Literacy Development in Children Learning English as an Additional Language: a Longitudinal Cohort and Vocabulary Intervention Study

Dixon, Christopher (2018) Language and Literacy Development in Children Learning English as an Additional Language: a Longitudinal Cohort and Vocabulary Intervention Study. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) are a growing but understudied population of learners in English primary schools. As EAL learners vary in their amount of exposure to English, they often begin formal education with relatively lower levels of English language proficiency than their monolingual peers. Little is known about the English language and literacy developmental trajectories of EAL learners in England, and particularly, the extent to which the two groups of learners converge or diverge over time. Additionally, no studies to date have assessed the efficacy of explicit, targeted vocabulary instruction in this group of learners in the run up to the end of primary school. The present study comprised a longitudinal cohort study of 48 EAL learners and 33 monolingual peers who were assessed at three time points between Year 4 (age 8-9) and Year 5 (age 9-10) on a battery of English language and literacy measures. All EAL learners had received English-medium education since at least Year 1 (age 5-6). Relative to their monolingual peers, EAL learners showed strengths in rapid naming, single-word reading efficiency, and spelling, but weaknesses in vocabulary knowledge, expressive syntax, and passage reading accuracy. Where they exhibited weaknesses, EAL learners generally did not make sufficient progress in order to close gaps with their monolingual peers. A subgroup of nine EAL learners with English vocabulary weaknesses also participated in short-term vocabulary intervention. Working one-to-one with speech and language therapy students, children showed significant gains in receptive and productive knowledge of target vocabulary which were maintained six months later. Together, results indicate that regular classroom instruction may be insufficient for EAL learners to close gaps with their monolingual peers in certain domains of oral language, but that targeted vocabulary instruction may be an effective means of achieving this end.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Human Communication Sciences (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > Human Communication Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr Christopher Dixon
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2018 09:33
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2020 00:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20802

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