Research on the literacy and language development of Spanish-speaking English language learners
Vocabulary Instruction and Assessment for Spanish Speakers (VIAS)
The Vocabulary Instruction and Assessment for Spanish Speakers (VIAS) project was a program of research funded through grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) from September 2007 through May 2013, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Diane L. August. The grants supported research on the literacy and language development of Spanish-speaking English language learners (ELLs) conducted by investigators at the Center for Applied Linguistics and its collaborators, Harvard University, Boston College, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Houston.
VIAS builds on a previous program project grant awarded to the Center of Applied Linguistics to study Acquiring Literacy in English (ALE) (1999-2006), which was part of the Development of Literacy in Spanish Speakers (DeLSS) initiative jointly organized and funded by NICHD and IES.
Throughout the program of research, across both program project awards, the collaborating researchers have employed similar comprehensive approaches:
Developmental: The research was longitudinal and investigated the development of language and literacy in Spanish-speaking second language learners. It examined heterotypic as well as homotypic continuity in language and reading development.
Sociolinguistic: The research examined the development of English and Spanish in a variety of instructional situations (such as English-only, transitional bilingual, and dual language classrooms) that provided differing levels of support and status for the two languages.
Linguistically sophisticated: The researchers investigated phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic aspects of language and literacy development.
Cross-linguistic: The research articulated questions about how, under what conditions, and for what domains of language and literacy children’s knowledge in Spanish might transfer to support acquisition of language and literacy in English.