Linguistic and reading comprehension in simultaneous dual language instruction: Evidence against unitary constructs

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Robert Savage, Adriana Pace
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12-06-2017 2:53 PM
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Aims and Objectives/Purpose/Research Questions: This paper describes a study investigating the relationships between reading and listening comprehension in a simultaneous dual language instruction context. We explored whether listening and reading comprehension are unitary constructs across the first language (L1) and the second language (L2). Design/Methodology/Approach: Listening comprehension and reading comprehension measures were administered twice over a school year in English and French. Data and Analysis: Stepwise regression analyses were undertaken with 206 typical children in grade 4 classrooms in French Immersion programs. Findings/Conclusions: Analyses showed listening comprehension in the L1 and listening comprehension in the L2 both independently predicted reading comprehension concurrently. Reading comprehension in the L1 and reading comprehension in the L2 both predicted reading comprehension in the L1 and L2 longitudinally and symmetrically within, as well as across, home language groups. Originality and Significance/Implications: Findings suggest that listening comprehension and reading comprehension are not unitary constructs and possibly suggest synergistic recruitment of distinct L1 and L2 listening comprehension and reading comprehension resources in dual language comprehension, as suggested by the Development Interdependence Hypothesis. Both dual language policy and school-based practices might be enhanced through collaborative planning and activities that support this natural interdependence of component reading processes across languages, while also being aware that language comprehension abilities may not be at comparable levels across L1s and L2s by grade 4 in immersion contexts.
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