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Title: Psycho-linguistic predictors of L1-Arabic and L2-English reading and writing skills for Arabic speaking children
Author: Elshikh, Mohamed Ebrahim
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 2283
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract Four studies investigated potential psycho-linguistic predictors of Ll Arabic and L2 English literacy skills amongst Arabic speaking children in different school stages in Kuwait: primary, intermediate and secondary. Word-level reading, reading comprehension and writing production measures determined literacy levels across the groups. Phonological processing skills were assessed by measures of phonological awareness, rapid naming and phonological memory, and measures of listening comprehension, morphological awareness, vocabulary and syntax were used to assess more general language skills. Backward digit span and listening span were also used to measure working memory processes. The results argued for the influence of these psycho-linguistic skills on bilingual literacy development, with measures of phonological, morphological and syntactic awareness being reliable predictors of reading comprehension in both Arabic and English. Non- word decoding and phonological awareness predicted variance in basic word-level literacy skills in both Arabic and English. Morphological awareness explained variance in reading comprehension in Ll Arabic and L2 English independent from word decoding skills. Vocabulary and syntax had comparable strengths in explaining variability in reading comprehension and writing production in both languages. And L2 working memory was important for L2 reading comprehension. In addition, there were cross-language predictions: L2 listening comprehension supported Ll reading comprehension, while Ll non-word reading and syntactic ability supported L2 reading comprehension. Although some relationships seemed to be more specific to one orthography or LUL2, there was a commonality of predictors for English and Arabic literacy skills through the four studies, which allowed models of psycho-linguistic influences on literacy development to be developed based on current perspectives on literacy acquisition. These models and newly-developed literacy measures appropriate for work with Arab bilingual children should inform future research and practice, as well as theory 2 development, which should increase understanding ofliteracy development in non- English contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available