Assessing early literacy development in Spanish speakers when Spanish is the language of instruction
Rhoades, William B.
One of the fastest growing populations of students in American schools today is that of Spanish speaking English language learners. Many of these students are taught in classrooms in which Spanish is the language of instruction for the development of early literacy skills. There is a need for valid and reliable progress monitoring measures for Spanish speakers in these classrooms, as many of the current measures in use were designed for and normed on English speaking populations of students. Phonological awareness is one of the strongest predictors of success in learning to read. Therefore, the purpose of this replication study was to determine the efficacy of five independent variables: (a) Letter Sounds, (b) Syllable Sounds, (c) Phonemic Segmentation, (d) Syllable Segmentation, and (e) Grade Level to predict scores on Spanish Word Reading and Sentence Reading Fluency assessments for 41 first-grade and 41 second-grade native Spanish speaking students whose early literacy instruction was in Spanish. Correlational and multiple regression analysis showed that, of these variables, performance on a test of Syllable Sounds was the best predictor of performance on both the Word Reading Fluency and Sentence Reading Fluency tests. Results show that, for students receiving early literacy instruction in Spanish, tests of syllable sounds demonstrated the most efficacy in accounting for the variance in predicting future reading success in Spanish.
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