Advertisement

Reading and Writing

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 1973–1990 | Cite as

The intersection of cognitive and sociocultural factors in the development of reading comprehension among immigrant students

  • Jim Cummins
Article

Abstract

The present paper synthesizes the international research literature on the educational achievement of immigrant and minority language students by articulating three propositions for which there is strong empirical evidence: (a) print access and literacy engagement play a key role in promoting reading comprehension; (b) the development of bilingual students’ L1 proficiency plays a positive role in L2 academic development; and (c) societal power relations play a direct causal role in promoting school failure among students from subordinated communities. This interpretation of the empirical evidence is contrasted with the conclusions of recent North American and European reviews. For example, the comprehensive review of literacy development among minority students conducted in the United States by the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth acknowledged the legitimacy of bilingual education as a policy option but said very little about the role of literacy engagement in promoting reading comprehension. By contrast, various reports of the Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) highlighted the importance of reading engagement for reading achievement but discounted bilingual education as a feasible or realistic policy option. The instructional implications of the present review include the need for educators to promote print access and literacy engagement, teach for cross-lingual transfer, and affirm students’ identities in classroom interactions.

Keywords

Achievement Bilingual education Identity Literacy engagement Pedagogy Power relations Reading 

References

  1. Allington, R. L. (2004). Setting the record straight. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 22–25.Google Scholar
  2. August, D., & Shanahan, T. (Eds.). (2006). Developing literacy in second-language learners. Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. August, D., & Shanahan, T. (Eds.). (2008). Developing reading and writing in second-language learners: Lessons from the report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Bankston, C. L., & Zhou, M. (1995). Effects of minority-language literacy on the academic achievement of Vietnamese youths in New Orleans. Sociology of Education, 68, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barton, D., & Hamilton, M. (2000). Literacy practices. In D. Barton, M. Hamilton, & R. Ivanic (Eds.), Situated literacies (pp. 7–15). Routledge: New York.Google Scholar
  6. Bishop, R., & Berryman, M. (2006). Culture speaks: Cultural relationships and classroom learning. Wellington, Aoteroa/New Zealand: Huia Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  8. Camilli, G., Vargas, S., & Yurecko, M. (2003). Teaching children to read: The fragile link between science and federal education policy. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11(15). Retrieved 4 May 2005, from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v11n15.
  9. Christensen, G., & Stanat, P. (2007). Language policies and practices for helping immigrant second-generation students succeed. The Transatlantic Task Force on Immigration and Integration convened by the Migration Policy Institute and Bertlesmann Stiftung. Retrieved 15 October 2007 from http://www.migrationinformation.org/transatlantic/.
  10. Corson, D. (1997). The learning and use of academic English words. Language Learning, 47, 671–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crul, M. (2007). Pathways to success for the children of immigrants. The Transatlantic Task Force on Immigration and Integration convened by the Migration Policy Institute and Bertlesmann Stiftung. Retrieved 15 October 2007 from http://www.migrationinformation.org/transatlantic/.
  12. Cummins, J. (1981). The role of primary language development in promoting educational success for language minority students. In California State Department of Education (Ed.), Schooling and language minority students: A theoretical framework (pp. 3–49). Los Angeles: National Dissemination and Assessment Center.Google Scholar
  13. Cummins, J. (1999). Alternative paradigms in bilingual education research: Does theory have a place? Educational Researcher, 28, 26–32.Google Scholar
  14. Cummins, J. (2001). Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: California Association for Bilingual Education.Google Scholar
  15. Cummins, J. (2007). Pedagogies for the poor? Re-aligning reading instruction for low-income students with scientifically based reading research. Educational Researcher, 36, 564–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cummins, J. (2009a). Transformative multiliteracies pedagogy: School-based strategies for closing the achievement gap. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 11, 38–56.Google Scholar
  17. Cummins, J. (2009b). Pedagogies of choice: Challenging coercive relations of power in classrooms and communities. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 12, 261–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cummins, J. (2009c). A response to “developing literacy in second-language learners”, by Lisa Pray and Robert T. Jiménez. Educational Researcher, 38, 385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cummins, J., Bismilla, V., Chow, P., Cohen, S., Giampapa, F., Leoni, L., et al. (2005). Affirming identity in multilingual classrooms. Educational Leadership, 63(1), 38–43.Google Scholar
  20. Dressler, C., & Kamil, M. (2006). First- and second-language literacy. In D. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.), Developing literacy in second-language learners. Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth (pp. 197–238). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Ehri, L. C., Nunes, S., Stahl, S., & Willows, D. (2001). Systematic phonics instruction helps students learn to read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 71, 393–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Esser, H. (2006). Migration, language, and integration. AKI Research Review 4. Berlin: Programme on Intercultural Conflicts and Societal Integration (AKI), Social Science Research Center. Retrieved 21 December 2007 from http://www.wzb.eu/zkd/aki/files/aki_research_review_4.
  23. Francis, D., Lesaux, N., & August, D. (2006). Language of instruction. In D. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.), Developing literacy in second-language learners. Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth (pp. 365–413). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
  24. Gamse, B. C., Jacob, R. T., Horst, M., Boulay, B., Unlu, F., Bozzi, L., et al. (2008). Reading first impact study: Final report. Washington DC: Institute for Educational Sciences.Google Scholar
  25. Garan, E. M. (2001). What does the report of the National Reading Panel really tell us about teaching phonics? Language Arts, 79, 61–70.Google Scholar
  26. Gee, J. P. (1999). Critical issues: Reading and the new literacy studies: Reframing the National Academy of Sciences report on reading. Journal of Literacy Research, 31, 355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Genesee, F., Lindholm-Leary, K., Saunders, W. M., & Christian, D. (Eds.). (2006). Educating English language learners: A synthesis of research evidence. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Geva, E. (2006). Learning to read in a second language: Research, implications, and recommendations for services. In R. E. Tremblay, R. G. Barr, & R. DeV Peters (Eds.), Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online] (pp. 1–12). Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Retrieved 27 February 2007 from http://www.excellence-earlychildhood.ca/documents/GevaANGxp.pdf.
  29. Guthrie, J. T. (2004). Teaching for literacy engagement. Journal of Literacy Research, 36, 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Guthrie, J. T., & Alvermann, D. E. (Eds.). (1999). Engaged reading: Processes, practices, and policy implications. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  31. Krashen, S. D. (2004). False claims about literacy development. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 18–21.Google Scholar
  32. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32, 465–491.Google Scholar
  33. Lantolf, J. P., & Thorne, S. L. (2006). Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second language development. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Lesaux, N., Koda, K., Siegel, L., & Shanahan, T. (2006). Development of literacy. In D. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.), Developing literacy in second-language learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  35. Lesemann, P. (2007). Early education for immigrant children. The Transatlantic Task Force on Immigration and Integration convened by the Migration Policy Institute and Bertlesmann Stiftung. Retrieved 15 October 2007 from http://www.migrationinformation.org/transatlantic/.
  36. Lindholm-Leary, K. J., & Borsato, G. (2006). Academic achievement. In F. Genesee, K. Lindholm-Leary, W. Saunders, & D. Christian (Eds.), Educating English language learners (pp. 176–222). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Lindsay, J. (2010). Children’s access to print material and education-related outcomes: Findings from a meta-analytic review. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates.Google Scholar
  38. Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat. (2005). Webcast on Teaching and Learning in Multilingual Ontario. Retrieved 2 October 2006 from www.curriculum.org/secretariat/archive.html.
  39. Lucas, T., & Katz, A. (1994). Reframing the debate: The roles of native languages in English-only programs for language minority students. TESOL Quarterly, 28, 537–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Manyak, P. C. (2004). “What did she say?” Translation in a primary-grade English immersion class. Multicultural Perspectives, 6, 12–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McCarty, T. L. (Ed.). (2005). Language, literacy, and power in schooling. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  42. McKay, S. L., & Wong, S. (1996). Multiple discourses, multiple identities: Investment and agency in second language learning among Chinese adolescent immigrant students. Harvard Educational Review, 66, 577–608.Google Scholar
  43. Nation, P., & Coady, J. (1988). Vocabulary and reading. In R. Carter & M. McCarthy (Eds.), Vocabulary and language teaching (pp. 97–110). London: Longman.Google Scholar
  44. National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.Google Scholar
  45. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110 (2001).Google Scholar
  46. Nusche, D. (2009). What works in migrant education? A review of evidence and policy options. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 22, OECD Publishing. ©OECD. doi: 10.1787/227131784531.
  47. Ogbu, J. U. (1978). Minority education and caste. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  48. Ogbu, J. U. (1992). Understanding cultural diversity and learning. Educational Researcher, 21, 5–14, 24.Google Scholar
  49. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2004). Messages from PISA 2000. Paris: Author.Google Scholar
  50. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2010). Closing the gap for immigrant students: Policies, practice and performance. Paris: Author.Google Scholar
  51. Paribakht, T. S., & Wesche, M. (1997). Vocabulary enhancement activities and reading for meaning in second language vocabulary acquisition. In J. Coady & T. Huckin (Eds.), Second language vocabulary acquisition: A rationale for pedagogy. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. (2001). Legacies: The story of the immigrant second generation. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  53. Pressley, M., Duke, N. K., & Boling, E. C. (2004). The educational science and scientifically based instruction we need: Lessons from reading research and policy making. Harvard Educational Review, 74, 30–61.Google Scholar
  54. Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K., & Glass, G. V. (2005). The big picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness research on English language learners. Educational Policy, 19, 572–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schofield, J. W., & Bangs, R. (2006). Conclusions and further perspectives. In J. W. Schofield (Ed.), Migration background, minority-group membership, and academic achievement: Research evidence from social, educational, and developmental psychology (pp. 93–102). AKI Research Review 5. Berlin: Programme on Intercultural Conflicts and Societal Integration (AKI), Social Science Research Center. Retrieved 21 December 2007 from http://www.wzb.eu/zkd/aki/files/aki_research_review_5.pdf.
  56. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2000). Linguistic genocide–or worldwide diversity and human rights. Mawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  57. Slavin, R., & Cheung, A. (2005). A synthesis of research on language of reading instruction for English Language Learners. Review of Educational Research, 75, 247–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stanat, P., & Christensen, G. (2006). Where immigrant students succeed: A comparative review of performance and engagement in PISA 2003. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.Google Scholar
  59. Steele, C. M. (1997). A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist, 52, 613–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationThe University of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations