The Home Literacy Environment and the English Narrative Development of Spanish–English Bilingual Children Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the home literacy environment (HLE) on the English narrative development of Spanish–English bilingual children from low-income backgrounds. Method Longitudinal data were collected on 81 bilingual children from preschool through 1st grade. English narrative skills were assessed ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
The Home Literacy Environment and the English Narrative Development of Spanish–English Bilingual Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dana Bitetti
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Dana Bitetti, who is now with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA: Bitetti@lasalle.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Luigi Girolametto
    Associate Editor: Luigi Girolametto×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
The Home Literacy Environment and the English Narrative Development of Spanish–English Bilingual Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1159-1171. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0064
History: Received February 12, 2015 , Revised September 4, 2015 , Accepted April 18, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1159-1171. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0064
History: Received February 12, 2015; Revised September 4, 2015; Accepted April 18, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the home literacy environment (HLE) on the English narrative development of Spanish–English bilingual children from low-income backgrounds.

Method Longitudinal data were collected on 81 bilingual children from preschool through 1st grade. English narrative skills were assessed in the fall and spring of each year. Microstructure measures included mean length of utterance in morphemes and number of different words. The Narrative Scoring Scheme (Heilmann, Miller, Nockerts, & Dunaway, 2010) measured macrostructure. Each fall, the children's mothers reported the frequency of literacy activities and number of children's books in the home. Growth curve modeling was used to describe the children's narrative development and the impact of the HLE over time.

Results Significant growth occurred for all narrative measures. The HLE did not affect microstructure growth. The frequency with which mothers read to their children had a positive impact on the growth of the children's total Narrative Scoring Scheme scores. Other aspects of the HLE, such as the frequency with which the mothers told stories, did not affect macrostructure development.

Conclusions These results provide information about the development of English narrative abilities and demonstrate the importance of frequent book reading for the overall narrative quality of children from Spanish-speaking homes who are learning English.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants R01-HD-39496 and U01-HD-060296, awarded to the second author. The authors thank the parents and their children who participated in the project, along with the Head Start and school staff who provided the necessary support for data collection.
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