Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Ed. Specalist

Degree

Ed.S.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Lisa M. Lopez, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Linda Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Keywords

Hispanic, Latino, bilingual, achievement

Abstract

Limited research has been conducted focusing on the school readiness abilities among bilingual Latino children. Additionally, little is known about how children from different Latin American regions may differ in their readiness skills. This study examines the differences in school readiness abilities in both English and Spanish of a group of bilingual Latino Head Start children in five counties in Florida (n = 202). Specifically, the study investigates the differences in abilities among children from different Latin American Regions (i.e., North American, Caribbean, Central American, and South American). School readiness skills were assessed using subtests from the Woodcock Johnson III Complete, the Batería III Woodcock-Muñoz, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Fourth Edition, and the Test de Vocabulario en Imágenes Peabody. Additionally, a demographic parent interview was used to examine specific family factors that may influence the children’s development of these skills. All participants attend Head Start and come from households where Spanish is one of the languages spoken. A series of one-way ANOVAs were calculated to test the differences among the groups, and multiple regressions were used to evaluate the relationship between several family factors and the children’s abilities. Results indicated significant differences among Latin American Regions in the area of Oral Language in English and Spanish. Furthermore, all family factors were related to some extent with the children’s Oral Language skills in both languages. Mother’s years of residence in the U.S. as well as mothers’ English proficiency were shown to increase English-Oral language scores for most of the participants. This research study will add to the literature information about the abilities of specific Latino groups given that research focusing on this population tends to overgeneralize their findings.

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