Facilitating Vocabulary Acquisition of Young English Language Learners Purpose This study examined whether English-only vocabulary instruction or English vocabulary instruction enhanced with Spanish bridging produced greater word learning in young Spanish-speaking children learning English during a storybook reading intervention while considering individual language characteristics. Method Twenty-two Spanish-speaking children learning English (ages 4–6) who participated in a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2010
Facilitating Vocabulary Acquisition of Young English Language Learners
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mirza J. Lugo-Neris
    The Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Carla Wood Jackson
    The Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Howard Goldstein
    The Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Contact author: Mirza J. Lugo-Neris, School of Communication Science and Disorders, 127 Honor’s Way, Regional Rehabilitation Center, Tallahassee, FL 32306. E-mail: mjl8079@fsu.edu.
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2010
Facilitating Vocabulary Acquisition of Young English Language Learners
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 314-327. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/07-0082)
History: Received November 9, 2007 , Revised June 9, 2008 , Accepted February 23, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 314-327. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/07-0082)
History: Received November 9, 2007; Revised June 9, 2008; Accepted February 23, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 22

Purpose This study examined whether English-only vocabulary instruction or English vocabulary instruction enhanced with Spanish bridging produced greater word learning in young Spanish-speaking children learning English during a storybook reading intervention while considering individual language characteristics.

Method Twenty-two Spanish-speaking children learning English (ages 4–6) who participated in a summer education program for migrant families were randomly assigned to receive 2 weeks of each instruction: (a) word expansions in English or (b) English readings with word expansions in Spanish. Researcher-created measures of target vocabulary were administered, as were English and Spanish standardized measures of language proficiency and vocabulary.

Results Results revealed significant improvement in naming, receptive knowledge, and expressive definitions for those children who received Spanish bridging. Spanish expansions produced the greatest gains in the children’s use of expressive definitions. Initial language proficiency in both languages was found to affect participants' gains from intervention, as those with limited skills in both languages showed significantly less vocabulary growth than those with strong skills in Spanish.

Conclusions Additional benefits to using Spanish expansions in vocabulary instruction were observed. Future research should explore additional ways of enhancing the vocabulary growth of children with limited skills in both languages in order to support and strengthen the child’s first language and promote second language acquisition.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to acknowledge Christopher Lonigan and Shurita Thomas-Tate for their valuable contributions to this document. Also, we are grateful to the volunteers and graduate research assistants who aided in data collection and material preparation for this project: Mirsa Neris, Barel Alcántara, Lisa Johnston, Emily Bergmann, Megan Miskowski, Judy de la Cruz, Rosalyn Leech, and others. Your time, effort, and thoroughness were essential to completion of this project.
This research was supported in part by grants funded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Multicultural Resources Department, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (R305B04074), and the Institute of Education Sciences (H325D030046). Some of the data were reported in poster presentations at the state conference of the Florida Language, Speech and Hearing Association (May 2007) and at the annual meeting of the Institute of Education Sciences (June 2007).
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