Minimal information exists concerning dual language acquisition of three-year-old dual language learners (DLLs) during their first school experience and first systematic exposure to English. This study examined the Spanish and early English language development of young DLLs in the context of standardized measures and a story retell task. Participants included eight Spanish-English DLLs (7 females, 1 male, M age = 3 years, 8 months) attending Head Start, and their classroom teachers. Outcome measures for the children included composite and scaled scores on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Preschool-2 Spanish (CELF Preschool-2 Spanish; Wiig, Secord & Semel, 2009) and the parallel English measure (CELF Preschool-2; Wiig, Secord & Semel, 2005), and measures of lexical (NVT, NNVT, TNV, NW, NDW, TNW and TTR) and grammatical (MLUw) development. Proportion of classroom teachers' and paraprofessionals' Spanish, English and mixed language use was measured to contextualize the children's learning environment with regard to language exposure. Children's mean standardized Spanish scores at school entry were not significantly different from their mean scores in May; however, an increase in total number of verb types was observed. Children's English receptive, content, and structure mean standardized scores in May were significantly higher than their scores at school entry. Children were exposed to a high proportion of mixed language use and disproportionate amounts of English and Spanish exclusively. Children's performance was highly variable across measures and languages. The findings of the current study provide a reference point for future research regarding language development of three-year-old Spanish-English dual language learners.
- Spanish and English development in three-year-old dual language learners
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by Virginia L. Dubasik