The home literacy environment (HLE) has been shown to impact language and literacy skills in preschool-aged children via factors such as availability of books, frequency of reading and child age when parents began reading to the child (Burgess, Hecht, & Lonigan, 2002; Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell, 1994). Many dual language learners (DLL) rely on interactions in the second language outside the home to acquire second-language proficiency, but the HLE also influences second-language development in DLL, whether the native language or the second language is the primary home language (Duursma et al., 2007). However, little is known about the relative importance of the HLE for native- vs. second-language acquisition. This question was examined in 1,200 second-language and 8,000 native-language learners of Danish. The parents of the 3-5-year-old children completed a HLE questionnaire, and the children were assessed on a standardized language and pre-literacy battery. A total composite score of the language assessment battery was predicted using reading-related HLE factors separately for DLL and native learners. Because the predictor variables were on ordinal scales, dichotomous indicator variables for each answer were used in the multiple regression. STATAs vce-cluster was used to correct standard errors for intragroup (childcares) correlations. The results showed that the HLE predicted more variance in DLL (R2=.26) than native learners (R2=.08). Our interpretation is that the HLE is an even stronger predictor in DLL than native learners, possibly because learning two languages requires a highly stimulated language apparatus, which is facilitated by a supportive HLE irrespective of the language of the home.
Burgess, S. R., Hecht, S. A., & Lonigan, C. J. (2002). Relations of the home literacy environment (HLE) to the development of reading‐related abilities: A one‐year longitudinal study. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(4), 408-426.
Duursma, E., Romero-Contreras, S., Szuber, A., Proctor, P., Snow, C., August, D., & Calderón, M. (2007). The role of home literacy and language environment on bilinguals' English and Spanish vocabulary development. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28(01), 171-190.
Payne, A. C., Whitehurst, G. J., & Angell, A. L. (1994). The role of home literacy environment in the development of language ability in preschool children from low-income families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 9(3-4), 427-440.
20 Jul 2017
Published - 20 Jul 2017
- Lyon, France
International Congress for the Study of Child Language