Language and Literacy in
Bilingual Children: The
Miami Experience
Rebecca E. Eilers
D. Kimbrough Oller
Alan Cobo-Lewis
Virginia Mueller Gathercole
Barbara Zurer Pearson
Preface




Multilingualism is a global
phenomenon.
English monolingualism in the US is
an anomaly.
English has become increasingly a
“lingua franca”.
Yet Americans fear “balkanization”
from exposure to many native
tongues.
The Question!



The debate in the US is often framed in
terms of educational outcome.
The claim is that bilingualism contributes
to academic/intellectual deficits.
The question is: 1. Does bilingualism, in
and of itself, cause intellectual or
educational harm and 2. How do we
appropriately isolate and assess the
effects of bilingualism?
The Control of Appropriate
Variables






Socio-economic status
Assessment in home language as well as
English
Educational opportunities in each
language
Language entry skills in each language
Timing and duration of exposure to each
language
Perceived status of each language
Why Miami?




Single unified school district
Multiple strategies across schools for
language learning
Large number of established, highlyintegrated, Hi SES, Spanish-speaking
and bilingual families
Significant commerce in both English
and Spanish
The Hypotheses




Additive (Lambert)
Subtractive (Lambert)
Interdependence (Cummins)
The Grand Interaction
Terminology



LEP—Limited English Proficiency
SES—Socio-economic status
LSH—Language spoken in the home
• OSH—Only Spanish at home
• ESH—English and Spanish at home
• English

IMS—Instructional method at school
• 2-way– Spanish and English Instruction
• EI—English immersion
The Core Design
Replicated at Kindergarten, 2nd and 5th Grades
Monolinguals
Bilinguals
Two-Way
English Immersion
ESH
Hi
Lo
Hi
Lo
OSH
Hi Lo
SES
ESH
Hi
Lo
OSH
Hi Lo
Probe Studies



Narrative competence
Complex syntax
Phonological awareness
Utilizing subsets of the study
population—Total N=952
Goals of Deep Description in Miami
Schools


1. Verify that language usage of
teachers complies with educational
design
2. Document language usage of
children in classrooms and noninstructional environments
Methods of Deep Description




Bilingual observers
In the classrooms and hallways
Between 25 and 50 observation per
design category
Census data for school districts and
schools
School Matching
%
Hispanic
%LEP
2-Way
Schools
92.5
38.5
3.5
SAT
Math
score
67
EI
93.7
36.7
3.6
68
Mono.
40
12.7
3.4
65
FTE/
child
Immigration Demographics of
Parents



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


Mother’s and father’s educational
attainment
Occupation
Languages spoken at home
Number of bedrooms in home
Home ownership
Country of origin
Age at immigration
Summary of Classroom Language
Data


Teachers to students: Teachers
overwhelmingly complied with
classroom design, i.e., Spanish was
spoken in 2-way schools during
instruction in Spanish; English was
spoken in IE classrooms and the
English portion of 2-way education to
both classes and individual children.
Summary of Classroom Language
Data


Students spoke to teachers in the
appropriate language in the overwhelming
majority of cases.
Students addressed students in the
appropriate classroom language except in:
a. 2-way Spanish classes
b. 2-way English and EI
kindergarten
Fathers years of schooling
SES
Hi
Hi
LSH
OSH
ESH
OSH
ESH
OSH
ESH
OSH
ESH
Eng.
Lo
Eng. 12.38
English
Immersion
Bilinguals Lo
2-way
Bilinguals
Hi
Lo
Monolinguals
Father (x) SD
14.11
2.84
14.51
2.68
10.46
3.68
12.01
1.51
15.52
2.78
14.49
2.59
11.14
3.51
12.06
2.21
15.61
2.81
2.10
Age Children Began English Acquisition
Educational
Method
English
SES
LSH
mean SD
Hi
OSH
3.75
1.23
ESH
1.23
1.28
OSH
3.90
1.55
ESH
1.34
1.23
OSH
3.33
1.44
ESH
1.17
1.34
OSH
4.39
1.25
ESH
1.24
1.26
Hi
Eng. 0.08
0.27
Monolinguals Lo
Eng. o.48
0.72
English
Immersion
Bilinguals
Lo
Hi
2-way
Bilinguals
Lo
Mother’s Language Proficiency
Educational
Method
SES
LSH
English
mean SD
Hi
OSH
2.65
0.55
2.87
0.34
ESH
2.91
0.32
2.72
0.50
Lo
OSH
1.43
0.68
2.79
0.41
Hi
ESH
OSH
2.80
2.35
0.46
0.73
2.70
2.95
0.54
0.22
ESH
2.79
0.49
2.81
0.40
Lo
OSH
1.40
0.65
2.78
0.44
Hi
ESH 2.70
Eng. 2.99
0.49
0.08
2.67
1.22
0.57
0.49
Monolinguals Lo
Eng. 2.97
0.17
1.17
0.44
English
Immersion
Bilinguals
2-way
Bilinguals
Spanish
mean SD
What we have achieved



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
All children born in US
Two distinctly different educational models
(EI and 2-way) in otherwise matched
schools
A clean separation between socioeconomic
status with both OSH and ESH families
represented at each level of SES and in
each school type
A balanced design with respect to
languages spoken at home
A matched monolingual group
Performance on
Standardized English- and
Spanish-language Tests for
Monolingual and Bilingual
Students
Alan Cobo-Lewis
University of Maine
9 Standardized English- and
Spanish-language Tests
(Woodcock Johnson, 1989, 1991; Woodcock-Munoz, 1995
Oral Language
Picture Vocabulary, Oral Vocabulary,
Verbal Analogies + PPVT/TVIP
Literacy
Word Attack, Letter-Word, Passage
Composition, Proofing, Dictation
The Group Mean Results in
English
ic
D
t
of
ic
ro
t
er Vo
b
c
O An ab
ra a
l V lo
oc g
a
P b
P
V
T
V
P
P
or
Le d
A
P
a s tte tta
s a r– c k
ge W o
C rd
om
p
W
S ta n d a rd S co re
High-SES children outperform low-SES
children, especially in oral language.
110
lo w S E S
h ig h S E S
100
90
80
70
Test
ic
D
t
of
ic
ro
t
er Vo
b
c
O An ab
ra a
l V lo
oc g
a
P b
P
V
T
V
P
P
or
Le d
A
P
a s tte tta
s a r– c k
ge W o
C rd
om
p
W
S ta n d a rd S co re
Monolinguals outperform bilinguals,
especially in oral language.
110
M o n lin g u a ls
B ilin g u a ls
100
90
80
70
Test
110
100
M o n o lin g u a ls
B ilin g u a ls
90
80
W o rd A tta ck
70
110
100
90
S ta n d a rd S c o re
80
L e tte r– W o rd
70
P ictu re V o ca b
110
100
90
80
70
P a ssa g e C o m p
V e rb a l A n a lo g ie s
P ro o fre a d in g
O ra l V o ca b u la ry
D icta tio n
PPVT
110
100
90
80
70
110
100
90
80
70
K
2nd
5 th
K
G ra d e
2nd
5 th
As they get older,
bilinguals start to
catch up with
monolinguals in the
tests where they
show the biggest
deficits (Picture
Vocab and Peabody
Picture Vocab Test).
M o n o lin g u a ls
1 -W a y B ilin g u a ls
2 -W a y B ilin g u a ls
110
100
90
80
Test
O
V
er
b
tV
ic
P
A
oc
ab
n
ra a
l V lo
oc g
a
P b
P
V
T
t
ic
D
of
ro
P
o
L e rd
A
P
a s tte tta
s a r– c k
ge W o
C rd
om
p
70
W

Bilinguals in Eng Imm schools outperform those in
2-way schools in oral lg
Bilinguals in 2-way schools do at least as well as those in
Eng Imm schools (and about as well as monolinguals) in
elementary reading tasks (Word Attack and Letter–Word)
S ta n d a rd S co re

As they get older,
bilinguals in 2-way
education programs
tend to catch up with
bilinguals in Eng Imm
education programs
(except for Picture
Vocab).
Bilinguals who speak English & Spanish at home
outperform those who speak only Spanish at home,
especially in oral language
As they get older,
bilinguals who speak
only Spanish at
home start to catch
up with bilinguals
who speak English &
Spanish at home in
the tests where they
show the biggest
deficits (Picture
Vocab and Peabody
Picture Vocab Test).
Summary of the
Group Mean Results in English



Outside-of-school influences—SES, “linguality”
(monolinguals vs bilinguals), and language
spoken at home—have their largest effects in oral
lg.
Outside-of-school influences other than SES wane
as children grow older.
Bilinguals in Eng Imm schools outperform those
in 2-way schools in oral lg, but those in 2-way
schools outperform those in Eng Imm schools in
elementary reading tasks. Learning to read in
Spanish may help students’ general reading skills
regardless of language being tested (more on this
later).
The Group Mean Results in
Spanish
Children who speak only Spanish at home
outperform those who speak English & Spanish
at home, especially in oral lg.
Eng & Sp at hom e
o n ly S p a t h o m e
100
90
80
70
V
P
ic
t
er Vo
b
c
O An ab
ra a
l V lo
oc g
a
P b
P
V
T
t
ic
D
of
ro
P
o
L e rd
A
P
a s tte tta
s a r– c k
ge W o
C rd
om
p
60
W
S ta n d a rd S c o re
110
Test
ic
D
t
of
ic
ro
t
er Vo
b
c
O An ab
ra a
l V lo
oc g
a
P b
P
V
T
V
P
P
or
Le d
A
P
a s tte tta
s a r– c k
ge W o
C rd
om
p
W
S ta n d a rd S c o re
High-SES children outperform low-SES
children, but not in oral language.
110
100
lo w S E S
h ig h S E S
90
80
70
60
Test
Children in 2-way schools outperform those in
Eng Imm schools, especially in elementary
reading (Word Attack & Letter–Word).
1 -w a y
2 -w a y
100
90
80
70
V
P
ic
t
er Vo
b
c
O An ab
ra a
l V lo
oc g
a
P b
P
V
T
t
ic
D
of
ro
P
or
Le d
A
P
a s tte tta
s a r– c k
ge W o
C rd
om
p
60
W
S ta n d a rd S c o re
110
Test
S ta n d a rd S c o re
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
1 -w a y
2 -w a y
W o rd A tta ck
P ictu re V o ca b
L e tte r– W o rd
V e rb a l A n a lo g ie s
P a ssa g e C o m p
O ra l V o ca b u la ry
P ro o fre a d in g
PPVT
D icta tio n
K
2nd
5 th
K
G ra d e
2nd
5 th
Children in Eng Imm
and 2-way schools
perform very
similarly in
Kindergarten.
Dramatic differences
emerge later.
Summary of the
Group Mean Results in Spanish



SES effects were more straightforward in English
tests than in Spanish tests, where low-SES
bilinguals sometimes outperformed high-SES
bilinguals.
Language spoken at home affects performance in
expected directions, with effects being most
salient in oral language.
2-way children outperform Eng Imm children in
Spanish, especially in reading.
• Recall that this was also true in English tests.
• We’ll see this again in the upcoming analysis of
individual differences.
Individual Differences
Individual Differences:
Principal Components Analysis of Bilinguals’
English & Spanish Data
Factor 1
Factor 2
Factor 3
Word Attack
.82
.71
–.01
Letter–Word
Passage Comp
.79
.64
.82
.61
.35
.37
.25
.28
Proofing
Dictation
Picture Vocab
.70
.61
.66
.70
.32
.48
.80 –.05 –.00
.34
.40
.78
Verbal Analogies
Oral Vocabulary
.69
.74
.61
.78
PPVT
.74
.38
.72
Literacy Factor
Individual
Differences
Comparative
Factor Analyses of
All Subjects’ Data
lw
lw
0.5
0.8
pr
wa
pr
pc
d
wa
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.7
0.6
pc
d
Bilinguals
in Spanish
0.5
0.5
0.4
0.3
pv
ov
ppvtva
pv ov
ppvt va
lw 0.8
wa
0.2
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.3
0.2
0.5
wa
0.8
0.7
pc
pr
d
0.4
lw
d pc pr
0.6
0.5
va
0.5
Bilinguals
in English
0.4
0.3
ov
pv
ppvt
0.2
0.8
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.3
0.4
ov
va
0.2
pv
ppvt
lw
wa
0.5
0.8
0.7
dpc
pr
d pc pr
0.6
0.5
Monolinguals
in English
0.5
0.4
ov
va
0.3
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.2
ppvt
pv
wa
ov
va
ppvt
pv
lw
Language-specific Factors
Individual
Differences
Comparative
Factor Analyses of
All Subjects’ Data
ov
pv
ppvt
ov
pv
ppvt
va
va
pr
Bilinguals
in Spanish
0.4
lw
0.2
0.2
wa
pv
ppvt
0.5
0.7
ov
va
0.4
0.3
d
lw
wa
0.6
0.6
pc
d
0.5
0.5
pr
pc
0.4
0.6
0.3
0.4
pv
ppvt
ov
0.7
0.6
va
0.5
Bilinguals
in English
pr
0.4
d lw
pc
pr
lw d
0.3
pc
0.2
0.2
wa
0.5
0.6
0.3
0.4
ov
0.7
wa
ov
0.7
va
0.6
ppvt
pv
va
0.5
Monolinguals
in English
pr
0.4
pclw
d
0.3
0.2
0.2
0.3
0.4
wa
pr
lw
d
wa
pc
ppvt
pv
Individual Differences
Comparative Factor Analyses of All Subjects’ Data
Language-Specific
Literacy
0.6
0.8
0.8
0.6
0.8
0.5
0.4
Bilinguals
in Spanish
0.4
0.2
0.2
0.8
0.6 0.7 0.8
0.7
0.5 0.6
0.6
Bilinguals
in English
0.5
0.5
0.4
0.3
Bilinguals
in English
0.2
0.2
0.8
0.6
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2 0.3
0.8
0.6
Monolinguals
in English
0.2
0.2
0.4
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.3 0.4 0.5
0.8
0.6
Monolinguals
in English
0.7 0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.8
0.6
Bilinguals
in Spanish
0.2
0.6
0.8
0.4
0.2
0.2
0.4
0.4 0.5
0.4
0.4
0.2
Factor Scores to Summarize Major
Group Effects
Literacy
Eng Oral
Sp Oral
Factor Score
0.5
0.0
-0.5
Low
High
Socioeconomic
Status
Only Sp
Eng & Sp
Language
Spoken at Home
Eng Imm
Two-Way
Instructional Method
in the School
Conclusions

Implications for Educational
Programs
• 2-way education leads to better
Spanish skills.
• 2-way education does not detract
(much) from English skills (at least by
2nd grade).
• Neither Eng Imm nor 2-way
bilinguals spoke English as well as
monolinguals.
Conclusions

Linguistic Conclusions
• Reading and Writing skills cross
language.
• Oral skills are more languagespecific.
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Language and Literacy in Bilingual Children: The Miami