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Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Vocabulary Approach for Dual Language Learners

This study will compare the gains and retention of English receptive vocabulary by preschool Spanish-speaking dual language learners (DLLs) after the implementation of a Culturally and Linguistically Responsive (CLR) shared reading intervention. Results will guide the development of evidence-based instructional strategies to improve the quality of services for young DLLs and inform policy for multicultural services to diverse children and families.

Using a randomized experimental research design, seventy-two preschool aged Spanish-speaking DLLs from a Head Start program will be randomly assigned to a CLR intervention group, an English-only Culturally Responsive comparison group, or a "business as usual" control group. Thirty-six English words will be presented through explicit teaching in small group shared book-reading sessions over six consecutive weeks. Target words will be presented in either a bilingual (English/Spanish) or a monolingual (English-only) intervention modality. Gain and retention of the targeted English vocabulary will be measured during pre-post and delayed post-tests using standardized and researcher developed measures.

Research findings could inform the development of HS/EHS policies on: a) effective vocabulary instructional strategies that support oral language development in DLLs, and b) content for multicultural professional training for both monolingual and bilingual professionals serving culturally and linguistically diverse children.

This project is funded under the Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Head Start Research Scholar Grant Program to support the dissertation research of Lucia Mendez, a doctoral candidate in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Mendez is a Graduate Student Researcher leading the implementation of the study, with Drs. Castro and Crais as her mentors.


Funding Agency:  

Administration for Children and Families

Funding Period:  

09/30/2011 to 09/29/2013

Award Amount:  



Elizabeth R. Crais, Co-Principal Investigator