Developing a bilingual family literacy programme based on translanguaging practices for Portuguese preschool children in Luxembourg


CALL: 2014

DOMAIN: SC - Identities, Diversity and Interaction

FIRST NAME: Gabrijela

LAST NAME: Aleksic



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Bilingual, literacy, programme, translanguaging, family

START: 2015-09-01

END: 2016-03-31


Submitted Abstract

This project is the first phase of the CORE Junior Track project BiFaLy that is currently under review. The aim of the BiFaLy project is twofold: (1) to investigate the relations between home literacy environment and children’s literacy skills in Portuguese and Luxembourgish, and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of bilingual (Portuguese/Luxembourgish) family literacy programme for 3-year-old Portuguese children. The first phase of the project for which this application is aiming at regards the preparation of the bilingual family literacy programme. Luxembourg ranked 30th in reading, below the OECD mean in PISA 2012 study. Portuguese children, the largest language-minority group in Luxembourg (22%), are the most vulnerable in reading. In the researcher’s PhD study, there was a significant difference between preschool Luxembourgish and Portuguese children in vocabulary and phonological awareness, the most pertinent predictors of literacy. Literacy skills established during early years are critical for children’s later academic achievement. Psycholinguistic theory and international studies consistently showed that children’s home language is important as a cognitive base for the acquisition of other languages and academic achievement. Several meta-analyses underlined the effectiveness of bilingual programs for the academic achievement of language-minority children. Thus, bilingual intervention programmes are necessary and they need to be carefully engineered.A sub-sample of randomly selected 20 children is envisaged to follow a 12-month bilingual family literacy programme based on the Raising Early Achievement in Literacy project (REAL; University of Sheffield, UK), training oral language, phonological awareness and print knowledge in the family settings in Portuguese and Luxembourgish in the BiFaLy project. The seven-month stay at the City University of New York (CUNY) will focus on further developing this programme by working closely with Prof. Dr. Ofelia García who is a prominent researcher in the field of bilingual education. To reach this aim successfully, it is important to develop a solid bilingual family literacy programme based on research and, especially, practice that will be obtained by the school and family visits in the CUNY-New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals (NYSIEB) project. Particular attention will be paid to the translanguaging practices of emergent bilingual children where they use their own languages as resources to learn a new language and make sense of their multilingual worlds. In addition, the second aim of the stay is editing a book on bilingual family literacy.The outcomes obtained from the stay will: (1) contribute to the effectiveness of the developed bilingual family literacy programme whose long-term aim is to promote the academic achievement of Portuguese children in Luxembourg, and (2) a book on bilingual family literacy whose aim is to increase knowledge on the topic.

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