Longitudinal Analysis of Receptive Vocabulary Growth in Young Spanish English–Speaking Children From Migrant Families Purpose The authors of this study described developmental trajectories and predicted kindergarten performance of Spanish and English receptive vocabulary acquisition of young Latino/a English language learners (ELLs) from socioeconomically disadvantaged migrant families. In addition, the authors examined the extent to which gender and individual initial performance in Spanish predict receptive ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2014
Longitudinal Analysis of Receptive Vocabulary Growth in Young Spanish English–Speaking Children From Migrant Families
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carla Wood Jackson
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Christopher Schatschneider
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Lindsey Leacox
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Carla Wood Jackson: cjackson3@fsu.edu
  • Editor: C. Melanie Schuele
    Editor: C. Melanie Schuele×
  • Associate Editor: Megan Dunn Davison
    Associate Editor: Megan Dunn Davison×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2014
Longitudinal Analysis of Receptive Vocabulary Growth in Young Spanish English–Speaking Children From Migrant Families
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2014, Vol. 45, 40-51. doi:10.1044/2013_LSHSS-12-0104
History: Received December 3, 2012 , Revised May 31, 2013 , Accepted December 17, 2013
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2014, Vol. 45, 40-51. doi:10.1044/2013_LSHSS-12-0104
History: Received December 3, 2012; Revised May 31, 2013; Accepted December 17, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose The authors of this study described developmental trajectories and predicted kindergarten performance of Spanish and English receptive vocabulary acquisition of young Latino/a English language learners (ELLs) from socioeconomically disadvantaged migrant families. In addition, the authors examined the extent to which gender and individual initial performance in Spanish predict receptive vocabulary performance and growth rate.

Method The authors used hierarchical linear modeling of 64 children's receptive vocabulary performance to generate growth trajectories, predict performance at school entry, and examine potential predictors of rate of growth. The timing of testing varied across children. The ELLs (prekindergarten to 2nd grade) participated in 2–5 testing sessions, each 6–12 months apart.

Results The ELLs' average predicted standard score on an English receptive vocabulary at kindergarten was nearly 2 SDs below the mean for monolingual peers. Significant growth in the ELLs' receptive vocabulary was observed between preschool and 2nd grade, indicating that the ELLs were slowly closing the receptive vocabulary gap, although their average score remained below the standard score mean for age-matched monolingual peers. The ELLs demonstrated a significant decrease in Spanish receptive vocabulary standard scores over time. Initial Spanish receptive vocabulary was a significant predictor of growth in English receptive vocabulary. High initial Spanish receptive vocabulary was associated with greater growth in English receptive vocabulary and decelerated growth in Spanish receptive vocabulary. Gender was not a significant predictor of growth in either English or Spanish receptive vocabulary.

Conclusion ELLs from low socioeconomic backgrounds may be expected to perform lower in English compared with their monolingual English peers in kindergarten. Performance in Spanish at school entry may be useful in identifying children who require more intensive instructional support for English vocabulary growth. Findings substantiate the need for progress monitoring across the early school years.

Acknowledgments
We sincerely appreciate the teachers and staff at Panhandle Area Educational Consortium for Migrant Education who facilitated our access for progress monitoring participants. Special thanks to Maria Pouncey, Director of the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium, and graduate student assistants Karina Olivares and Jennifer Henderson Stowers. This research was partially supported by a U.S. Department of Education Personnel Preparation project H325K070331, awarded to Florida State University.
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