The effects of Home Intervention on early language and literacy skills of English as a Second Language (ESL) preschoolers.

The effects of Home Intervention on early language and literacy skills of English as a Second Language (ESL) preschoolers.

First Author: Claire Bergen -- Wilfrid Laurier University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Michelle McCann; Nicole Ptasznik; Alexandra Gottardo
Keywords: early childhood (age 4 - 6), Language Development, Second Language
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Early literacy skills are crucial for student success. Interventions that target vocabulary skills and narrative development are beneficial for students who are acquiring English as a second language. Assessments comparing the early literacy skills of ESL children who receive a home instruction program, to their monolingual English speaking peers, can provide insight into the benefits of home instruction programs for low socioeconomic ESL students.

Method: EL1 children (N=20), ESL children (N=20) and low socio-economic status (SES) ESL children who received a 9 month Home Instruction Program (HIP) (N=17) were compared. Assessments were completed at two different times. Time 1 and Time 2 assessments were conducted in June of Junior Kindergarten and in January of Senior Kindergarten. Standardized tests measured vocabulary (PPVT-IV). Narrative development skills were measured using a narrative assessment (Frog Story).

Results: Time 1 results reveal differences on vocabulary with the HIP performing better than the ESL but worse than the EL1 group (F=12.72,p<.001). A similar pattern is expected for the narrative task despite low SES status of the HIP group given that the intervention targeted storybook reading.

Conclusions: The results indicate that differences in vocabulary and narrative skills exist between ESL and EL1 students at the time of Kindergarten. ESL students who received a home instruction program scored significantly higher on vocabulary compared to the ESL students who did not receive the program. These results highlight the importance of early home interventions such as HIPPY to help prepare low SES ESL children for successful entry to Kindergarten.