PhD in Psychology Neurology and Data Science
ProfessorPalladino Paola

Literacy in Bilingual minority language children

The socio-political conditions of the most recent years have increased migrations: millions of migrants live outside their country of birth. All these people are faced with the task of acquiring a language that is different from the one spoken at home and all children attending school develop also literacy skills in a second language. These children might be defined as bilingual children, within a broad conception of bilingualism that refers to the use and need of two or more languages in everyday life (Grosjean, 1992). However, the majority of children of migrant families speak a minority language at home, and often families have a low socio-economic status (SES) and they may therefore be distinguished from simultaneous bilinguals growing up in bilingual families. Many studies compared language minority bilingual children reading development to monolingual peers control group, showing that the two groups typically are similar (for a review, see August & Shanahan, 2006). However, the great majority of studies have been cross-sectional in nature, and although they have shed light on literacy skills at a single point in time, they have failed to provide insight into the process of literacy development over time. Therefore a project to examine and also to follow longitudinally the literacy learning and semantic memory of a large sample of bilingual minority language students is in progress.