Learning to Read in Multiple Languages: A Study Exploring Allophone Students’ Reading Development in French Immersion
This article describes a two-year study of the French and English reading development of seven elementary French immersion (FI) students who spoke a home language that is neither English nor French. Given the critical role of literacy in school success and the growing number of third language (L3) learners entering FI, this study focused on L3 learners’ reading experiences. Standardized reading measures were administered in English and in French and think-aloud protocols and interviews were conducted with students. Results suggest that L3 students are similar to, if not stronger than, their bilingual peers with respect to English and French reading ability. They also relied on their knowledge of other languages to support French reading development and evidence of metalinguistic and metacognitive insights is presented. A number of classroom implications for teaching reading in diverse FI classrooms are included.
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