In honour of Henk Schultink, every LOT school organises a Schultink lecture. We are happy to announce that this LOT School’s invited lecturer is Theo Marinis, Professor of Multilingualism at the University of Konstanz and at the University of Reading. The lecture will take place on 16 January, 16:30 – 17:30 at Tilburg University.
He will talk about ‘Multilingual children’s development of language and literacy skills in their heritage and majority languages’.
Being able to read is a key skill that enables children to learn at school. As a result, literacy skills are key to school success, which is in turn can be a key for success in further life. And yet, many children in schools have low reading abilities. In this lecture I will present a study that took place in the UK and addressed how multilingual primary school children develop their language and reading abilities in their two languages: Greek and English. Greek was the children’s heritage language and English the majority language in the UK. The children were recruited when they were in the 1st and 3rd year of primary school and their language and reading abilities were measured at that time point and one year later to address also their language and reading development. The UK has a monolingual educational system, in which schools do no support the children’s heritage languages. The children in the present study attended mainstream monolingual English-speaking schools but also Greek complementary Sunday schools. The results show that the children have better language and reading skills in their majority language (English), which is also the language in school, compared to their heritage language (Greek), which is the language spoken in the home. Although their vocabulary skills in English are lower than those of their monolingual peers, they have better reading skills than monolingual English children. This suggests that multilingualism and multi-literacy enhances the children’s reading development, especially when the heritage language has a transparent orthography. The results demonstrate that supporting the children’s heritage language does not affect negatively but can benefit the children school/majority language.
To be announced soon.