General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 18:00 to 18:30 Oral presentation
Quechua-Spanish bilingual children: Vocabulary and listening comprehension in Spanish predict reading comprehension
Speaker: María de los Ángeles Fernández Flecha, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

Authors: Andrea Anahí Junyent Moreno y María Fernández Flecha


Bilinguals in Peru need to be fluent in written Spanish, since there is no higher education available in indigenous languages such as Quechua. However, only 18.8% of bilingual fourth graders attending Intercultural Bilingual Education schools manage to achieve the expected results for Spanish as a second language (Student Census Assessment, MINEDU, 2014). Evidence from Peruvian Spanish monolingual children (Junyent, 2015) shows that reading comprehension depends on individual and opportunity factors as age, gender, height-for-age, area of residence, and socio-economic status, as well as on vocabulary and listening comprehension (Florit, Roch & Levorato, 2011, 2013, 2014). This study aims to assess the effect of vocabulary and listening comprehension on reading comprehension in Quechua-Spanish bilinguals at 8 years old, after controlling for the effect of individual and opportunity factors. We analyzed data from bilinguals who chose to be assessed in Spanish rather than Quechua (n169) (from Young Lives open access base)* through a hierarchical regression. The first step included individual and opportunity factors, as well as language of instruction at school (either Quechua, or both Quechua and Spanish), and explained no variability. The second step, nevertheless, accounted for 44.5% (p < 0.01) of the variability, due to the contributions of vocabulary (β = 0.56; p < 0.01) and listening comprehension (β = 0.39; p = 0.01). These results show that vocabulary and listening comprehension are important predictors of reading comprehension in bilingual children, beyond the effect of factors related to life conditions and opportunities. We draw general and specific conclusions: (1) for comprehending a written text on a second language, bilingual children rely in previously acquired knowledge, such as vocabulary, and abilities, such as listening comprehension; (2) for Peruvian Quechua-Spanish speakers to properly develop written Spanish, school must provide them with a larger vocabulary and enhance their listening comprehension.
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Development in bilingual and multilingual contexts
Place: Room A-16

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