For English learners, reading isn't always

Apr 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- An influential model for teaching reading and comprehension to English learners doesn’t work well for Cantonese-speaking children, according to new research from the University of California, Davis, School of Education.

Yuuko Uchikoshi, an assistant professor of education at UC Davis, will present her findings on Monday, April 11, at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association in New Orleans.

Uchikoshi studied the “Simple View of Reading” model, which posits that reading comprehension depends on an understanding of the meaning of spoken words and, more importantly, an ability to “decode,” or sound out, written words.

The model is used successfully to teach Spanish speakers to read English, probably because Spanish and English share a common writing system and many similar words.

But the system fell short for who speak Cantonese as their first language.

“For Cantonese speakers, we also need to focus on vocabulary – and the earlier, the better,” she said.

This vocabulary-building should begin as early as preschool, so that English learners have similar vocabularies to native English speakers by the time they begin to learn to read, according to Uchikoshi.

The findings have important implications for practice and policy, according to Uchikoshi. “In multicultural societies such as the U.S., having a research-based model of second-language reading comprehension is vital to developing curricula that can address the needs of children from different backgrounds,” she said.

“We need more research on English learners. The bulk of what we have is on Spanish-speaking kids, but we need to focus on some of the others as well.”

Explore further: Researchers urge early help for kindergarten students with low self-regulation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Schools lose records; English learners pay

Apr 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Poor recordkeeping keeps California schools from getting all of the funding that they have coming, a failing that especially hurts English learners, according to research from the University of California, ...

Bilinguals get the blues

Mar 15, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Learning a foreign language literally changes the way we see the world, according to new research.

Second language learners recall native language when reading

Jun 01, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Adults fluent in English whose first language is Chinese retrieve their native language when reading in English, according to new research in the June 2 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. This study sugges ...

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

Oct 23, 2014

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

Oct 23, 2014

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

Oct 23, 2014

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

Data indicate there is no immigration crisis

Oct 22, 2014

Is there an "immigration crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

User comments : 0