Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Howard Goldstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

R. Michael Barker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lise Fox, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Trina D. Spencer, Ph.D.


Bilingualism, Dual Language Learners, Early Childhood, Emergent Literacy, Latinos, Preschool


Young children’s emergent literacy skills, particularly phonological awareness (PA) and alphabet knowledge (AK), are two of the strongest predictors of future reading skill. There is limited research evaluating the effectiveness of emergent literacy interventions on the dual language PA and AK skills of at-risk Latino preschoolers who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs). The bulk of existing interventions are conducted only in English. There is preliminary evidence supporting that DLL Latino children benefit from Spanish PA and AK instruction; however, few studies include preschool-aged children.

This study applied a multiple probe design across units of instruction to evaluate the effects of a supplemental PA and AK intervention delivered in Spanish that explicitly teaches transfer of these skills to English. The aims of the study were to determine: 1) whether children receiving this intervention would make gains in their Spanish PA skills following the intervention; 2) whether they would apply the PA skills they learned from Spanish to English; 3) whether they would make gains in their Spanish AK skills; and lastly; 4) whether they would apply these Spanish AK skills to English.

Four Latino preschoolers with limited emergent literacy skills in Spanish and English participated in this study. Bilingual researchers delivered scripted lessons targeting PA and AK skills. The results indicated that children made large gains in their Spanish PA skills and small to moderate gains in their AK skills. Children also applied the skills they learned in Spanish to English. These findings provide preliminary evidence Latino preschoolers who are DLL benefit from emergent literacy instruction that promotes their bilingual and biliterate development.