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How do uneducated adults become readers? Looking at the small steps. Martha Young-Scholten Rola Naeb.

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Presentation on theme: "How do uneducated adults become readers? Looking at the small steps. Martha Young-Scholten Rola Naeb."— Presentation transcript:

1 How do uneducated adults become readers? Looking at the small steps. Martha Young-Scholten Rola Naeb

2 There are many LESLLA learners who are NESLLA learners: non-educated.  In the USA, 40% of working age immigrants arrive with primary schooling or less, including no schooling (US Census.  In the UK 14% of 500+ students on one project reported no ability to read or write in their native language (Baynham et al. 2007).  But “hardly anything is known [about the] emergent literacy or metalinguistic awareness of adults [=immigrants] in Western countries who never went to school.” (Kurvers et al. 2006:69)

3 Can native-language-non-literate adults learn to read in an L2?  Two ways to approach this question  Find successful adult L2 readers  Ask what might underlie their success  Conclude that adults who fail lack these qualities/opportunities  Or look at cognitive and linguistic pre-requisites assumed to underpin children’s reading  Study adult first-time L2 readers in the same way that first-time native language readers have been studied

4 Children acquire most syntactic, morphological and phonological competence by 4-5, before learning to read.  Children develop considerable linguistic awareness prior to learning to read, for example, they develop phonological awareness in terms of syllable, onset and rhyme (Bryant & Bradley 1983).  Without awareness of phonemes (of the grapheme-phoneme correspondence/the alphabetic principle), new words cannot be sounded out.  Research points to children’s development of phonemic/segmental awareness during reading. (Goswami & Bryant 1990)

5 Burt et al.’s (1999) UK children regardless of social class followed common patterns of phonological awareness development: ages3;10 – 4;34;4 - 4;10 syllable55.6%64.9% rhyme39.3%41.3% onset25.6%45% phoneme8%24.9%

6 To keep in mind when considering English  1-10% of all children (depending on language and script) fail to master reading (Muter); due to lack of orthographic transparency.  Reading in English takes the longest (Ziegler & Goswami 2005).  In an alphabetic script, failure seems to be connected to non-mastery of phonological awareness (Goswami & Bryant; Muter et al. 1998, and many others).

7 Late L1 literacy  Only those literate adults exposed to an alphabetic script such as that used for English demonstrate phonemic awareness. (Read et al. 1986)  Development of syllable, rhyme and onset awareness is  Not dependent on age  Not dependent on training/schooling  Phonemic awareness is  Not dependent on age  Dependent on instruction in learning to read in an alphabetic script (Morais et al.’s 1979, 1987, 1988 studies of Portuguese adults).

8 Replication of studies on children with low- literate L2 English adults  17 Somali and Vietnamese adults (Young- Scholten & Strom 2006) in Seattle Age range at testing: 26 to 70 years old ¾ year to 20 years’ US residence Two weeks to four years in ESL classes Eight learners immigrated with 0 schooling, nine with 1-5 years schooling Both Somali and Vietnamese use the Roman alphabet

9 Linguistic competence  If a language threshold needs to be attained to provide a basis for reading skills (Bernhardt & Kamil 1995 and Alderson 2000:24 on transferability of L1 reading skills)  we should measure linguistic competence to see if learners have the level of 4- or 5-year-old children  and with respect to vocabulary, beginning readers need a vocabulary of roughly 5,000 words; any reader should know 95% of the words in a text (Alderson 2000:35)  to gain adequate comprehension  to be able to guess unknown words from context

10 Young-Scholten & Strom’s (2006) linguistic competence measurement Morpho-syntax: Students had to orally describe past events in a photograph (from the US Best test). Syllable (onset and rhyme) production: Students had to orally name objects in pictures Segment perception: Students had to point to a picture out of an array Segment production: Students had to orally name objects depicted Vocabulary: Students had to identify English and non- English words in a list read to them (Meara 1992)

11 Literacy skills tests + awareness tests from Burt et al. and Karmiloff-Smith et al. (1996) Reading and writing skills Native language literacy: read a paragraph; write personal details Native Language and English Language phonological awareness tests English literacy Write personal details Read: -unordered varied font letters -common signs -word fitting in single sentence cloze test (multiple choice) -correct word in minimal pairs -paragraph -single words from spoken lexicon Repeat the last word in a story read out loud Count syllables in words read out loud Find the odd one out in list of 4 words read out loud: rhyme Find odd one out in list words read out loud: alliteration Remove a segment from words read out loud

12 Results: Interaction between linguistic competence and awareness found Learnerscorrelation Vietnamese0.538ns Somalis0.703p<.05 overall0.537p<.05 Learnerscorrelation Vietnamese0.714ns Somalis0.915p <.01 overall0.942** but critical value unknown An interaction between linguistic competence and reading was also found.

13 Interactions found between phonemic awareness (1 st table) + onset/rhyme (2 nd table) w/ single word decoding. This suggests adults similar to children when learning to read. Learnerscorrelation Vietnamese0.915p <.01 Somalis0.881p <.01 overall0.886p <.01 Learnerscorrelation Vietnamese0.711p<.05 Somalis0.746p<.05 overall0.720p <.01

14 Summary of the Seattle study results  Variable results obtained for adults with 1-5 years schooling (including attainment of the highest level in the study for reading and for linguistic competence)  Results for the 0-schooled adults uniformly low, as shown on the next slide.  Most 0-schooled adults have low oral competence in morpho-syntax; there is variation in phonological competence.  Adults’ onset and rhyme awareness considerably exceeds their phonemic awareness, which approaches zero for some.

15 Seattle study 0-schooled adults Target-like phonology oral proficiency (1= rudimentary; 5=native-like) awareness tasks % correct reading level onset and rhyme phoneme/ segment Phung29%251%0%1 Nien3%134%17%1 Keif69%261%8%1 Abba56%2 17%1 Aliya63%237%0%1 Shamey54%120%16%1 Asia81%236%0%2 Sharif71%568%42%4

16 Variable success in the group: Taking a look at two learners  Phung  20 years’ residence in the USA  Children had all attended school; some even at uni  She’d had one year of ESL at testing  Sharif  Two years’ residence in the USA  Family members were only literate in Arabic and Somali, not in English  He’d had two weeks of ESL at testing

17 Why do some succeed but not others?  “We have to conclude that truly successful L2 learners who started as full illiterates are really very rare.“ (Kurvers & van de Craats 2008)  But consider Sharif  Need for further study  The Seattle study  Did not produce any results for vocabulary (the X-Lex test was not a valid measure)  Could not test segmental perception: students’ vocabulary was too small  Did not look at actual development

18 The UK study: Young-Scholten & Naeb  Focus on adults with no schooling or minimal schooling in a language which does not use the Roman alphabet  Collect information on students’ background, including exposure to English outside the classroom  Administer the same phonological awareness tasks as in the Seattle study, adding words students are learning (henceforth ‘ESL words’)  Measure vocabulary (British Picture Vocabulary Scale, similar to the Peabody)  Test students twice (June 2008 and March 2009)

19 Participants’ education, ESL, English contact StudentsexNL(s)NL schoolUK arrival Age in 2008 ESLextra- classroom English AbdullahMNouba; Arabic yrfriends FaridaFUrdu2 yrs yrtv; family FazilattFPunjabi yrchildren HakimaFDari yrschildren NagesMTamil9 yrs (?) yrstv; children NighistyFArabic; Tigrinian1 yr yrstv; family NasimMUrdu yrschildren SargulFKurdish, Farsi; Arabic 3 yrs yrtv; children ShafidaFUrdu; Mirpuri1 yr yrchildren ShagufaFDari; Pushto yrtv;Family YasmeenFPunjabi yrtv; family

20 stableimprovementdrop linguistic competence vocabulary phonology phonological awareness syllable counting (site 1) rhyme awareness (site 2) medial phoneme awareness (site 2) rhyme, onset awareness word-initial phoneme awareness medial phoneme awareness (site 1); final phoneme awareness reading skills-signs -alphabet -single words -ESL words Results: Students (at two sites) improved between time 1 and time 2

21 Correlations  We looked at relationships between sets of scores (typically correct/attempts made) and found statistically significant correlations between the sub-components of phonological awareness, reading skills and vocabulary  The numerous correlations found suggest positive developments in these adults’ cognitive processing, their linguistic competence and their reading skills  By examining – essentially under a microscope - these students’ knowledge and skills, we can document the small steps they take as they learn to read in English

22 Testing of vocabulary size, alphabet knowledge, rhyme awareness  Vocabulary: British Picture Vocabulary Scale  Alphabet: identification of letters in different fonts  B X L l p  Rhyme awareness: students heard sets of 3 words (4 words used in Burt et al., Seattle studies) picked the “odd one out’  can, SHOP, man  SIT, thin, skin  hot, SHIRT, not  sun, fun, LEG  chip, CAR, lip

23 Positive correlations between vocabulary and other measures Raw vocabulary T1 Alphabet T1 Rhyme awareness T1 Raw vocabulary T Alphabet T1 Rhyme awareness T1 Raw vocabulary T

24 Testing of onset awareness  Onset awareness: which word is the odd one out?  sleep, sport, CASH  red, WITH, ring  KICK, this, that  big, MILK, bus  fast, fish, PARK

25 Testing of phoneme awareness: after examples, researcher read words in left column; students needed to say those in right column  Initial (phon awareness 1 on tables below)  broomroom  leg egg  meat eat  clock lock  trainrain  Medial (phon awareness 2 on tables below)  frogfog  swingsing  spoonsoon  glassgas  sport sort  Final (phon awareness 3 on tables below)  lamplamb  weak we  forkfor  soupSue  port poor

26 Testing phonological competence: consonant clusters and vowels Consonant production Students were prompted to say words with word- initial and word-final consonant clusters using pictures of objects (e.g. clock, train, bread, desk, milk, six; 14 objects in all). Attempts counted only if the word students produced contained a cluster. Oral segment distinction (vowels) Using pictures, students prompted to say 14 words containing monopthongs (especially lax vowels) and diphthongs, e.g. metro, chicken, cat, smile.

27 Correlations between consonant production and other measures Phoneme awareness 2 T2 Consonant production T Consonant production T1 Consonant production T Site 1 Site 2 Rhyme awareness T2 Rhyme awareness T1 Onset awareness T2 Consonant production T1.000 All measures correlate positively; those in red correlate negatively.

28 Testing syllable awareness  Syllable counting  Familiar words  pencil, Manchester, Victoria, supermarket, paracetemol  Unfamiliar words  agility, nomenclature, derelict, abyss, periodical

29 Testing reading skills  Single word attack: reading familiar words in isolation  mobile phone, supermarket, teacher, station, community, medicine, floor, table, wedding, breakfast  ESL words (phonic in tables below): reading orally familiar mono- and disyllabic words from the ESL programs’ literacy-level syllabus  59 monosyllabic words: verbs (crash, sit), nouns (man, leg), adjectives (red, sick), function words (not, this, can)  Four disyllabic words: garden, flower, market, today

30 Correlations between syllable awareness and other measures Phonic reading T1 Single word attack T2 Rhyme awareness T1 Syllable counting T Site 1 Site 2 Phoneme awareness 2 T2 Single word attack T1Phonic reading T1 Syllable counting T Phoneme awareness2 T1Alphabet T1 Syllable counting T2.000 All measures are positively correlated except when red

31 Correlations between rhyme awareness and other measures Phonic reading T2 Rhyme awareness T Site 1 Site 2 Single word attack T2 Rhyme awareness T Onset awareness T2 Rhyme awareness T1.000 Rhyme awareness T1 Onset awareness T2 Rhyme awareness T2.000 All measures are positively correlated except when red

32 Correlations between onset awareness and other measures Alphabet T1 Single word attack T1 Onset awareness T Site 1 Site 2 Sign recognition T1 Onset awareness T1.000

33 Correlations between phoneme awareness and other measures Phoneme awareness 3 T1 Sign recognition T1Alphabet T1 Phoneme awareness 1 T Phoneme awareness 2 T2 Phoneme awareness 1 T Sign recognition T1 Phoneme awareness 3 T

34 Correlations between single word attack and other measures Phonic reading T1 Single word attack T Alphabet T1 Single word attack T Phonic reading T1 Single word attack T Site 1 Site 2

35 Correlations found only in site 2 Segment distinction T1 Syllable counting T2 Phoneme awareness2 T1 Alphabet T1 Segment distinction T2.000 Syllable counting T2 Phoneme awareness2 T1Alphabet T1 Segment distinction T1.000 Phonic reading T2 Sign recognition T All measures are positively correlated except when red

36 Summary  We found correlations similar to those found in the studies of children and other studies of LESLLA between  what students are being taught (ESL words; the alphabet)  actual word attack skills  phonological awareness  environmental print (sign recognition)  aspects of linguistic competence  complex onsets/consonant clusters  segments (vowels)  vocabulary

37 Future directions  Why are truly successful L2 readers who started fully non- iterate so rare? (Kurvers & van de Craats 2008); consider Seattle Sharif’s exposure to English.  He must’ve learned English outside the classroom, in the two years he’d been in the US before starting ESL.  We know high levels of oral proficiency are possible for naturalistic adults (e.g. Jose in Vainikka & Young- Scholten 1996)  Had Sharif got the 9,000 hours’ exposure children get by age five? (see e.g. Piske & Young-Scholten 2009)  Did he start reading for pleasure soon after he was able to decode? (see e.g. Rodrigo et al. 2007)

38 Future directions We are finishing the analysis of the current, longitudinal data. We are testing (cross-sectionally only) more 0-shooled adults, adding NL phonological awareness tasks (labour-intensive, for up to 8 NLs). Remember that 1-10% of all children (depending on language and script) fail to master reading; we wonder whether There are common reasons why these children and first-time L2 readers experience insurmountable difficulties with reading. LESLLA researchers can pursue this by working with psycholinguists studying such bilingual children. To address the exposure issue, we are working with creative writers on fiction for Newcastle LESLLA adults’ pleasure reading.

39  References  Alderson, C. (2000) Assessing Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Bernhardt, E. B. and M. L. Kamil. (1995). Interpreting relationships between L1 and L2 reading: consolidating the linguistic threshold level and the interdependence hypotheses. Applied Linguistics. 16:  Bryant, P. E. & L. Bradley (1983). Psychological strategies and the development of reading and writing. In M. Martlew (ed.) The Psychology of Written Language. Chichester: Wiley. pp  Burt, L., A. Holm & B. Dodd (1999). Phonological awareness skills of 4-year-old British children: an assessment and developmental data. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.  Dunn, L. M., L. M. Dunn, C. Whetton & J. Burley. (2007) British Picture Vocabulary Scale II. London: National Foundation for Educational Research.  Goswami, U. & P. E. Bryant (1990). Phonological Skills and Learning to Read. Hove: Psychology Press.  Karmiloff-Smith, A., J. Grant, K. Sims, M-C. Jones and P. Cuckle. (1996). Rethinking metalinguistic awareness and accessing knowledge about what counts as a word. Cognition 58:  Meara, P. (1992). EFL Vocabulary Tests. University of Swansea, Centre for Applied Language Studies.  Morais, J., L. Cary, J. Alegria & P. Bertelson. (1979). Does awareness of speech as a sequence of phones arise spontaneously? Cognition 7:

40  Morais, J., J. Alegria and A. Content. (1987). The relationship between segmental analysis and alphabetic literacy. An interactive view. Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive 7:  Morais, J., A. Content, P. Bertelson, L. Cary and R. Kolinsky. (1988). Is there a critical period for the acquisition of segmental analysis? Cognitive Neuropsychology. 5:  Muter, V., C. Hulme, M. Snowling and S. Taylor. (1998). Segmentation, not rhyming predicts early progress in learning to read. Journal of Experhymental Child Psychology 71:3-27.  Piske, T. and M. Young-Scholten. (2009). Input Matters in SLA. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.  Read, C., Y. Zhang, H. Nie and B. Ding. (1986). The ability to manipulate speech sounds depends on knowing alphabetic spelling. Cognition 24:  Rodrigo, V., D. Greenberg, V. Burke, R. Hall, A. Berry, T. Brinck, H. Joseph and M. Oby. (2007). Implementing an extensive reading program and library for adult literacy learners. Reading in a Foreign Language 19:  Vainikka, A. and M. Young-Scholten The early stages in adult L2 syntax: Additional evidence from Romance speakers. Second Language Research. 12:  *We are grateful to the British Academy for supporting this study (SG34193).


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