UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


Date of this Version

Spring 4-13-2020

Document Type



Rodriguez, A., Harms, M., Goodrich, M. J., Fitton, L. (2020). Early Language and Literacy Skills of Spanish-Speaking Dual Language Learners. University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of South Carolina.


Copyright 2020 by the authors.


The purpose of this study is to examine the early language measures that are the best predictors of English reading achievement and to determine whether assessing DLLs’ Spanish language skills contributes to the prediction of English reading achievement. Preschool and kindergarten often represent DLLs’ first significant exposure to English, and development of English language proficiency is strongly linked to English reading achievement (Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Because DLLs may not be exposed to English consistently prior to preschool or kindergarten, they often enter kindergarten with lower levels of English proficiency than their monolingual peers. This makes it difficult to identify DLLs who may be at risk for reading difficulties based on their language proficiency. Currently, many measures exist to assess the early language skills of dual language learners early in school, but little research has been conducted to compare which assessments are the best predictors of students’ future English reading achievement. The fact that many DLLs enter elementary school with low English proficiency complicates identification of students at risk for later difficulties. For example, is the limited English proficiency of DLLs simply a result of lack of exposure? Or do DLLs also have low proficiency in their first language (Spanish)? Therefore, an additional purpose to this study is to examine whether assessing children’s language skills in Spanish further contributes to prediction of English reading achievement.