Magda and Albana: Learning to Read with Dual Language Books


Sneddon, Raymonde 2008. Magda and Albana: Learning to Read with Dual Language Books. Language and Education. 22 (2), pp. 137-154.
AuthorsSneddon, Raymonde

This paper explores the ways in which dual language books are used in England to
support bilingual pupils in school. While pupils in many schools speak a wide range
of languages at home, these hardly feature in the curriculum. In the context of a project in which an education authority provided dual language books to primary schools, the paper describes how two women used Albanian/English story books to teach their six-year-old daughters to read in Albanian. The study reports on how the mothers and their children used both texts to transfer skills from one language to another, to negotiate meaning in both languages and to compare reading strategies. At the end of the school year the girls were reading in English with the best in their class, were developing fluency in Albanian and using it more in the home. Their mothers had become closely involved in their daughters’ schooling and reported improvements in their own English literacy skills. The teacher’s role was crucial: by providing support and resources to parents she enabled them to help their children become additive bilinguals in a situation in which they were beginning to lose the active use of their first language.

KeywordsAlbanian; bilingualism; biliteracy; dual language; reading; primary; education; mothers; English literacy; first language
JournalLanguage and Education
Journal citation22 (2), pp. 137-154
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Deposited10 Jun 2009
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Sneddon, R (2008) 'Magda and Albana: Learning to Read with Dual Language Books' Language and Education 22(2) 137-154..

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