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Christine Parsons

The sequencing of formal reading instruction: reading development in bilingual and English-medium schools in Ireland

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There is currently no fixed programme for sequencing of formal reading instruction in Irish-medium schools and practices vary considerably. This study compared the development of reading skills in the Irish and English languages of children from varying linguistic backgrounds and schooling experiences. Three age groups of children (N = 254) completed tasks assessing word reading, non-word reading and vocabulary, in both languages. Children attending immersion and Irish-medium schools in Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) communities performed significantly better on the Irish tasks than the English-medium schooled children across all year groups. Differences between the performance of children in the Irish-medium schools receiving reading instruction in Irish initially and those receiving reading instruction in English first were evident only at senior infants. The former group demonstrated an early advantage on the Irish non-word reading task, while the latter performed significantly better on the English real-word reading task at senior infants. Across the Irish-schooled groups, advantages in Irish reading were observed, while any disadvantages on the English tasks were resolved by fourth class. These findings suggest that the language in which reading is formally introduced is not critical to later L1 reading attainment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Pages (from-to)493-512
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • bilingualism, reading instruction, minority languages, biliteracy, immersion education, FRENCH IMMERSION, TRANSPARENT ORTHOGRAPHY, CHILDREN, ACQUISITION, AWARENESS, READERS, WALES, AGE

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