Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 211–218 | Cite as

An Exploration of Oral Language Development in Spanish-Speaking Preschool Students



The purpose of this qualitative, multi-case study was to explore the oral language of Spanish-speaking preschool students and their responses to questions, comments and requests made by an English-speaking teacher. Research questions focused on students’ responses to questions; comments and requests by the teacher; and whether the response was given in Spanish, English, or nonverbally. Four Spanish-speaking students in a school-based preschool program were chosen as participants in this study. Multiple data sources were used and included a Family Culture and Language Survey, audio taped sessions, observations, and field notes. As Spanish-speaking students responded to an English-speaking teacher, they began communicating via observation and non-verbal responses. As relationships were established, students responded using a combination of English and Spanish and used one to two English word phrases. Small group sessions, activities, and language that were consistent and repeated daily elicited more verbal response from students.


Multi-case study Qualitative Oral language Preschool Spanish-speaking students Small group activities Repeated language and activities Teacher/child relationships 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sioux Falls School DistrictSioux FallsUSA

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