The Literacy Skills of English Language Learners in Canada

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The purpose of this article is to review published studies of the English literacy of children in Canada who are English language learners (ELLs) with the goal of understanding the reading development of ELLs and characteristics of reading disabilities (RD) in this population. Phonological processing, syntactic awareness, and working memory of ELLs with and without RD were compared to that of native English-speaking (L1) students with and without RD. Our review found that ELLs with RD experienced reading difficulties similar to those of L1 students with RD. On the basis of the evidence, ELLs are not at greater risk for RD than their native English-speaking peers. We propose that the diagnosis of a reading disability can be made in a similar manner in both ELL and L1 students.

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