Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Special Education

First Advisor

Yaoying Xu


English fluency is a strong predictor of later academic success in the U.S. (Espinosa, 2007) In fact, a child who enters kindergarten with weak English language skills is most at risk for academic failure and dropping out of school; while a child with strong home language (L1) skills is more likely to attain fluency in English (Espinosa, 2007). A large portion of young English learners are acquiring their first and second languages at the same time. It is important to young dual language learners (DLL) that research reveals the best ways to provide effective instruction which helps maintain the home language and supports acquisition of English. This study examined the effects of an early reading intervention on preschool-age DLL children’s early literacy skills. Phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge have been identified as skills that can transfer from L1 to English (L2) to enhance the acquisition of the second language among young children (Dickinson, 2004; Durgunoglu, Nagy, & Hancin-Bhatt, 1993). There is evidence of the effectiveness of shared-reading interventions to increase children’s oral language skills across languages, race/ethnicity, and SES. The current study embedded instruction in phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge in a group of interactive reading strategies known as Dialogic Reading (DR). The intervention was delivered in the children’s home language, Spanish. Children’s growth in emergent literacy skills in Spanish and in English was monitored using a single subject with multiple baselines across subjects design. Visual analysis of single subject graphs indicated gains across all participants. In addition, paired-samples t-tests showed significant growth between pre- and post-tests in both English and Spanish of participating children. The findings have implications for research, policy, professional practice, and home literacy practices.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

April 2013