Acquiring Literacy in English (ALE) was a 5-year program of research in which the Center for Applied Linguistics and its collaborators, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Miami, and the University of Houston, studied the factors that predict success as Spanish-speaking children learn to read and write in English. While literacy in monolingual English-speaking children has been intensively studied, much less is known about how the process of acquiring literacy differs for monolingual and bilingual children. For example, does literacy in one language facilitate or hinder the acquisition of literacy in a second language? If literacy skills acquired in one language can be transferred to the development of literacy in another language, may all such skills be transferred? What are the conditions that favor transfer?
ALE was composed of the three subprojects listed below and a research and assessment core.
Subproject 1: Early Childhood Study of Language and Literacy Development of Spanish-Speaking Children; Subproject 2: Transfer of Reading Skills in Bilingual Children; and Subproject 3: Spelling as an Indicator of English Literacy Development
Taken together, these components describe English literacy development for Spanish speakers in a variety of social and educational contexts. Groups of children studied during the course of the research ranged from pre-kindergarten age to fifth graders. They attended schools in widely scattered locations, including Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, El Paso, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
Development of Literacy in Spanish Speakers (DeLSS)
ALE was one component of a larger research initiative, Development of Literacy in Spanish Speakers (DeLSS) that was jointly organized and funded by the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Institute of Education Sciences of the Department of Education. The grant period ran from 2000 to 2005. Learn about DeLSS.
The Vocabulary Instruction and Assessment for Spanish Speakers (VIAS)
This 5-year program of research funded through grants from the Eunice Kennedy ShriverNational Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The grants support 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 built on the 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. Learn about VIAS.