Relations among plurilingual children’s emerging executive functions and their English reading skills from Kindergarten to Grade 2

Relations among plurilingual children’s emerging executive functions and their English reading skills from Kindergarten to Grade 2

First Author: Pamela Filiatrault-Veilleux -- Simon Fraser University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Maureen Hoskyn
Keywords: Multilingual setting, Reading development, Executive Functioning, Literacy development, Longitudinal
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: This study aims to explore the longitudinal relations among plurilingual children’s emerging executive functions and their English reading skills (word reading, reading fluency, reading comprehension) in comparison to their monolingual English-speaking peers from Kindergarten to Grade 2.
Method: The sample included 164 monolingual English-speaking children and 143 plurilingual children who speak English and one or more additional languages from culturally diverse backgrounds. Children’s executive functioning (working memory; inhibitory control; cognitive flexibility) and reading skills (word reading; reading fluency; passage comprehension) were assessed in Kindergarten and at the end of Grade 1 and Grade 2. Multilevel modeling procedures that estimate the cross-sectional effects and the longitudinal relationship between executive function, reading skills and covariates (plurilingualism) over the three year period will be used.
Results: Preliminary findings suggest that on average, plurilingual and monolingual English speaking children develop English reading skills at a similar rate and to proficiency levels that are comparable over time. A deeper investigation of their executive functioning system will give us more information about the contribution of these cognitive processes on their reading performances.
Conclusions: Reading comprehension is a vital skill acquired in the first years of formal education. This research contributes to document some of the cognitive processes – executive functions - implied in reading comprehension at an important period of development, when learning how to read, of children who are exposed to more than one language. It will help to better design intervention and guide practices for Canadian teachers from schools coming from diverse cultural contexts.