The impact of second language learning on first language literacy

This project seeks to identify the extent to which learning a second language (L2) at primary school can facilitate first language (L1) reading and spelling skills in Year 3 children.

To that end, groups of Year 3 children will be taught either Italian or French over a period of weeks, and their reading and spelling scores will be compared pre- and post L2 instruction.  We anticipate that the groups of children who are taught an L2 will have improved reading and spelling over the group of children who do not receive any L2 instruction.  As Italian has a more transparent grapheme-phoneme correspondence (how it sounds and how it is spelled) we are also interested in identifying whether the group that is taught Italian might show a greater improvement on their English reading/spelling than those children learning French.

Researchers: Dr Victoria Murphy, Prof Ernesto Macaro, Ms Sonia Alba, Ms Claudia Cipolla

Publication: Murphy, V.A., Macaro, E. Alba, S. & Cipolla, C. (2015) The influence of learning a second language in primary school on developing first language literacy skills Applied Psycholinguistics 36 (2015), 1133–1153 doi:10.1017/S0142716414000095

Page last modified: August 18, 2016