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Title: The relationship between phonological awareness, reading and spelling aquisition of bilingual Arabic-English speaking children in the UK
Author: Alkaab, Sahar Naeem Sabhan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 4524
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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Phonological awareness (PA) is recognised as a key factor contributing to children's development of early literacy skills. The acquisition of reading and spelling, which are cognitive processes, is considered one of the most fundamental targets of the early school years. The increasing number of bilingual children in school has led to a number of cross-linguistic studies that have attempted to investigate the interaction between the languages spoken by bilingual children, the impact on PA skills and the influence on literacy development. A small number of studies have examined the transfer of PA skills between Arabic and English and the effect on literacy development, focusing on reading rather than both reading and spelling. The aim of this study is to examine PA skills in English and Arabic and how they relate to the reading and spelling skills of typically developing bilingual Arabic-English children growing up in the UK. This study employed an observational, cross-sectional quantitative methodology using normreferenced assessments and experimental measures. Eighty bilingual Arabic-English children were recruited with fully informed parental consent. The children were aged between 7 years and 1 month and 9 years and 11 months. They were divided into three age groups, 7, 8 and 9 years old, based on their age on the day of the assessment. Parents were asked to complete a language background questionnaire. Measures of PA, reading and spelling were administered in both languages. Spearman's correlation was run to determine the relationship between Arabic and English PA skills. Non-parametric two related samples tests were conducted in order to measure the children's performance level in PA skills, reading and spelling tasks in both languages. In addition, multivariate regression was used to examine if PA in either of the two languages of bilingual children predicts literacy skills in the other language. One-way ANOVA analysis was also used to determine whether there are significant differences in the means of all tasks in both languages across the three age groups. This study showed that, as expected, there is a significant correlation between PA in English and in Arabic across three age groups. In addition, the children's performance in Arabic PA is better than in English. The findings also showed that Arabic PA predicts all English reading tasks except the real word task and the English PA predicts all Arabic reading tasks. A further important finding of this study is that Arabic PA predicts only English real word, not non-word, spelling, while English PA predicts Arabic real and non-word spelling. The relationship between PA, reading and spelling in Arabic-English bilingual children is discussed in relation to exposure to each language, age and parental education. Educational and clinical implications that emerge from the findings of the current study are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq (HCED)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available