Bilingual Children’s Language Abilities and Early Reading Outcomes in Head Start and Kindergarten Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between Head Start children’s receptive language development and their kindergarten reading outcomes. Method Eighty-eight bilingual children who were eligible to attend Head Start for 2 years participated in the study. Growth curve models were used to examine ... Clinical Forum
EDITOR'S AWARD
Clinical Forum  |   July 01, 2007
Bilingual Children’s Language Abilities and Early Reading Outcomes in Head Start and Kindergarten
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carol Scheffner Hammer
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Frank R. Lawrence
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Adele W. Miccio
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Contact author: Carol Scheffner Hammer, The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 110 Moore Building, University Park, PA 26802. E-mail: cjh22@psu.edu.
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum   |   July 01, 2007
Bilingual Children’s Language Abilities and Early Reading Outcomes in Head Start and Kindergarten
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2007, Vol. 38, 237-248. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/025)
History: Received October 15, 2005 , Revised May 19, 2006 , Accepted January 26, 2007
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2007, Vol. 38, 237-248. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/025)
History: Received October 15, 2005; Revised May 19, 2006; Accepted January 26, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 39

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between Head Start children’s receptive language development and their kindergarten reading outcomes.

Method Eighty-eight bilingual children who were eligible to attend Head Start for 2 years participated in the study. Growth curve models were used to examine the relationship between children’s language abilities during 2 years in Head Start and end-of-kindergarten reading outcomes.

Results The results revealed that children’s English and Spanish receptive language abilities increased during Head Start, and children’s early reading abilities in English were within the typical range of monolingual norms at the end of kindergarten. Children’s early reading abilities in Spanish were nearly 1 SD below the test mean or lower. The results also showed that children’s growth in their English and Spanish language abilities during Head Start predicted their early reading abilities in English and Spanish.

Implications The findings imply that preschool programs are needed that target children’s growth in language and not their performance measured at a particular point in time. Also, the results demonstrate the importance of early and regular evaluation of bilingual children’s development in both languages in order to monitor children’s growth in their two languages.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the United States Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (5-R01-HD-39496-05). The authors wish to thank the parents and children who participated in the investigation and the staff of the Head Start programs and kindergartens for their support and assistance with the project. In addition, the authors thank the project staff and the graduate and undergraduate research assistants from The Pennsylvania State Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders for their assistance with the project.
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