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Childhood Bilingualism and Reading Difficulties: Insights from Cognition and Pedagogy
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4089-901X
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

We are living in a world in which bi/multilingualism has become commonplace within everyday life for a great number of people. Research has shown that bilingualism produces various cognitive consequences. These effects are generally seen as positive and contributing to an enhanced level of cognitive processing. Bilingualism functions selectively to produce outcome performances depending on the areas that are the subject of investigation. Furthermore, the patterns of results may vary if second-language reading occurs in a dyslexic context. Thus, many children may struggle with this situation, suggesting the need for the provision of a special education agenda in schools. The intention of this dissertation is to address the abovementioned topics. In study I, the effect of bilingualism on lexical vs. non-lexical reading tasks is examined. This study finds that the pattern of the effect might vary based on the type of reading task (e.g., semantic or phonological origins for information processing). In studies II and III, the combined effect of bilingualism and reading difficulties on executive functions (working memory, inhibitory control and flexibility) and on longterm memory (episodic and semantic) is examined. These studies find that, in line with primary expectations, bilingualism in typically developed reading is associated with enhanced overall cognitive performance in either executive functioning or episodic and semantic memory. Interestingly, the combination of second-language reading and reading difficulties is associated with lower performance (longer processing time) for executive functioning and long-term memory (specifically episodic memory). It is suggested that this pattern of performance is produced by a general delayed processing profile in the context of bilingualism and reading difficulties. The findings are discussed in light of the notion of inefficient and difficult learning of new input in terms of dyslexic problems. Study IV explores special education teachers’ assumptions with respect to the type of special education services in Swedish schools with a high proportion of (bilingual) pupils with reading difficulties. The findings of this study underscore the importance of the provision of special bi-literacy education for bilingual dyslexic children in schools and the current shortcomings regarding time and knowledge resources in this regard.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2015. , 114 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 34
Keyword [en]
bilingualism, reading difficulties, children, second language reading, cognition, special education, teachers, pedagogy
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-47033ISBN: 978-91-7529-109-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-47033DiVA: diva2:881276
Public defence
2016-02-05, Långhuset, Hörsal 2, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-12-10 Created: 2015-12-10 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The Dissociative Effects in Lexical and Non-lexical Reading Tasks for Bilingual Children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Dissociative Effects in Lexical and Non-lexical Reading Tasks for Bilingual Children
2015 (English)In: British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science, ISSN 2278-0998, Vol. 8, no 1, 47-62 p., BJESBS.2015.099Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sciencedomain International, 2015
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-47193 (URN)10.9734/BJESBS/2015/16760 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
2. The role of executive functions in bilingual children with reading difficulties
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of executive functions in bilingual children with reading difficulties
2015 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 56, no 3, 297-305 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To explore the joint effect of reading difficulties (RD) and bilingualism on executive functions, 190 children of four groups of 9-12year-olds (41 bilinguals with RD, 45 monolinguals with RD, 45 bilinguals without RD, and 59 monolinguals without RD) were examined on the Concentration game, Tower of Hanoi, and Stroop as measures of executive functioning tapping into inhibitory/attentional control, working memory and planning ability. The most prominent finding was that in terms of RD, the speed of performances decreased dramatically. This general decrease was more pronounced for bilingual children with RD than for their monolingual counterparts. In conclusion, the findings suggest that while bilinguals gain more from executive functions in normal reading, they lose in terms of RD. Such an outcome confirms that executive functions are essential components of both reading and bilingualism, which depending on whether reading conditions are normal or difficult will produce cognitive advantages or disadvantages. Further, it is argued that dissimilarity between the Farsi and Swedish languages may complicate handling of such a situation.

Keyword
Bilingual children; Executive functions; Reading difficulties
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-44810 (URN)10.1111/sjop.12198 (DOI)000354185700007 ()25688658 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84928772214 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-06-03 Created: 2015-06-03 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Bilingualism and Reading Difficulties: An Exploration in Episodic and Semantic Memory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bilingualism and Reading Difficulties: An Exploration in Episodic and Semantic Memory
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-47194 (URN)
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
4. Literacy support for bilinguals with dyslexia in Swedish special education: A bilingual lens vs difference blindness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Literacy support for bilinguals with dyslexia in Swedish special education: A bilingual lens vs difference blindness
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-47195 (URN)
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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