A comparison of difficulty levels of vocabulary in first-grade basal readers for preschool dual language learners and monolingual English learners.
The present study investigated preschoolers’ knowledge of vocabulary that appears in first grade basal readers by applying Rasch modeling to data from a researcher-developed receptive picture vocabulary assessment administered to 238 children. Levels of word difficulty for dual language learners (DLLs) and monolingual English learners (MELs) were compared. A total of 60 target words were selected from the glossaries of basal readers, and two test forms of 30 words each were created with four illustrations per word plate. Rasch analyses carried out on the entire preschool sample and on separate samples of DLLs and MELs showed that the ranking of target words by difficulty was similar for DLLs and MELs, but the groups differed in mastery of target words. Language status and level of general vocabulary knowledge were stronger predictors of word difficulty than age for this sample of preschoolers. Findings suggest MELs and DLLs learn English words in a similar order, but further research is needed to support this conclusion.
Leung, C. B., Silverman, R., Nandakumar, R., Qian, X., & Hines, S. (2011). A comparison of difficulty levels of vocabulary in first-grade basal readers for preschool dual language learners and monolingual English learners. American Educational Research Journal, 48, 421-461. doi:10.3102/0002831210382890
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