Language competence and reading comprehension of Mexican-American elementary school students



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This study investigated the language competence of 70 second grade bilingual students based on the their syntactic, pragmatic, and discourse competence in two settings (classroom and playground). These three levels of language competence in two environments were regressed on reading achievement. Cummins, (1979, 1981) theoretical framework was used to investigate the constructs of language used for interpersonal communication (BICS) and language that is identified as cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). For purposes of the present study, the classroom language samples are referred to as the children's level of cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) i.e. the children's use of higher order skills, and the playground samples are referred to as the children's level of interpersonal communicative skills (BICS). CALP is characteristic of the language used in the classroom and related to reading achievement, whereas BICS is not related to reading achievement and is more characteristic of everyday communication. Thus, BICS and CALP are two constructs that are used synonymously by Cummins (1979, 1981) and these are referred to as the students' language proficiency or communicative competence. [...]



Mexican American children--Education--Language arts, Mexican American children--Language