Effective Early Literacy Skill Development for Young Spanish-Speaking English Language Learners: An Experimental Study of Two Methods


  • The authors wish to thank the preschool program staff and the children and their parents for their participation in the study. Gratitude is extended to members of the research team: Gustalvo Gonzalez, Nelly Gonzalez, Jessica Colocho, and Esther Rivera. Portions of this work were supported by a grant awarded to JoAnn M. Farver and Christopher J. Lonigan from the National Science Foundation (REC 0129870). The views expressed are those of the authors and have not been reviewed or approved by the granting agency.

concerning this article should be addressed to Jo Ann M. Farver, Department of Psychology, SGM 501 Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061. USA. Electronic mail may be sent to farver@usc.edu.


Ninety-four Spanish-speaking preschoolers (M age = 54.51 months, SD = 4.72; 43 girls) were randomly assigned to receive the High/Scope Curriculum (control n = 32) or the Literacy Express Preschool Curriculum in English-only (n = 31) or initially in Spanish transitioning to English (n = 31). Children’s emergent literacy skills were assessed before and after the intervention in Spanish and English. Children in the English-only and transitional groups made significant gains in their emergent literacy skills in both Spanish and English compared to the control group, The English-only and transitional models were equally effective for English language outcomes, but for Spanish-language outcomes, only the transitional model was effective. The results suggest that a targeted early literacy intervention can improve Spanish-speaking preschoolers’ preliteracy skills.