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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

First language not necessarily linked to reading proficiency (2006)

In this paper, the authors examine recent research findings to determine whether a lack of oral proficiency is the main impediment to successful literacy learning for young English as a Second Language (ESL) students in Canadian schools.

Based on their analysis, they conclude that oral language skills are not a good indicator to use when assessing the reading ability of young ESL students. However, oral language proficiency may play a more important role at a later stage of reading development by affecting reading comprehension.

Persistent reading difficulties among ESL students are generally the result of deficits in skills specifically associated with reading, rather than deficiencies in oral English, they conclude. Early identification of reading problems, combined with immediate and sustained help, are the key components to ESL student success in literacy.

Assessment strategies and interventions used with unilingual students can also be used successfully with ESL children, especially if they are applied early when the problem occurs, and are maintained until reading proficiency has been developed.