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Linking Family Background and Home Language with English Reading Comprehension amog Bi/Multilinguals
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The purpose of this study is to examine the links between family background and home language factors on English reading achievement among bi/multilingual students. To explore the potential predictors of English reading achievement among bi/multilinguals, the study included literacy related resource, family socio-economic status (SES), and immigration status as constructs for family background; while for home language factors, the study looked at the orthography of home language, language preference, and multilingualism. Additionally, the study assessed the roles of school level factors (i.e., low SES students and English language learners in school) on school reading performance. The International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement’s Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (IEA – PIRLS, 2006) data of Singaporean fourth grade students were used. The data were potentially nested, therefore, the models formulated in this study had multilevel structures, student- and school-levels. The results indicated that number of children’s books at home was the strongest predictor among other family background variables including parental education. However, having children’s books in English had a very small influence on English reading scores of the bi/multilingual students. More interestingly, the study found that parental immigration status did not influence students’ English reading scores. Looking at home language factors, the study found that the orthography of home language linked to English reading. Importantly, the study found that Malay language, which shares the same orthography with English (i.e., alphabetic), showed the strongest link to the students’ English reading achievement. Other variables of home language did not significantly predict English reading after controlling for parental education.
Yulia, Astri (2013). Linking Family Background and Home Language with English Reading Comprehension amog Bi/Multilinguals. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from