The effects of bilingual education on the English language and literacy outcomes of Chinese-speaking children

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To evaluate the effects of bilingual education on minority-language children’s English language and literacy outcomes, we compared grade 1 Chinese-speaking Canadian children enrolled in three different instructional programs (French Immersion, Chinese-English Paired Bilingual, English-only). ANCOVA results revealed that the French immersion children outperformed the other two groups on measures of English phonological awareness and word reading and that the bilingual groups were comparable to monolingual English norms on a test of receptive vocabulary. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine cross-language transfer of skills. French morphological awareness explained unique variance in English word reading and vocabulary for the French immersion group. For the other two groups, Chinese phonological awareness was significantly related to English word reading. Our results suggest that instruction in French or Chinese does not delay the development of early English language and literacy skills for Chinese-speaking children, as the children may be able to leverage skills from their other language to facilitate their English learning.


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