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Journal Article: Review of <i>Language and Literacy in Bilingual Children</i>

Journal Article » Review of &lt;i&gt;Language and Literacy in Bilingual Children&lt;/i&gt;


Bilingualism, Educational Programs, Language, Literacy, Ethnography, Government Policy Making, Language Development, Reading, Education


Cummins, Jim


2004, May


This reviewed volume reports the results of a large-scale study of bilingual education conducted in the mid- to late-1990s in Miami, Florida, under a grant from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Oiler & Eilers (and their colleagues who contributed to individual chapters) have made a very substantial contribution to the research literature on bilingual education and bilingual development generally. Their quasi-experimental study is exemplary from a design perspective, involving a large sample carefully matched on relevant variables. The findings show that SES related very differently to academic development in the minority language (Spanish) as compared to the majority language (English). In addition, monolingual students performed better than bilinguals on English oral language (vocabulary) measures, but the performance gap had narrowed significantly by grade 5. The authors speculate that this closing of the gap may be due to increased cross-language transfer of vocabulary knowledge among the bilingual students as they progress through the grades. Finally, the study suggests that an established and wellimplemented additive bilingual programme can contribute significantly to the development of Li academic language proficiency at no long-term cost to the development of academic skills in the dominant language of the society. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA )