description) Becoming literate is a multifaceted skill that all children must accomplish. Literacy becomes more complex for Spanish speaking children because they begin the literacy process with varied language experiences. Children may be raised in a home in which Spanish is the only language spoken and may become bilingual sequentially when they enter an educational setting. Others learn both languages simultaneously. Literacy development may be further complicated by differences between the home and school environments. This prospective longitudinal study addresses three interrelated questions: (a) What are the differences in the rate and quality of language and literacy development between children learning Spanish and English sequentially and simultaneously? (b) What factors of oral language development and the environment result in positive and negative literacy outcomes in bilingual children? and (c) How do the specific characteristics of bilingual children's linguistic systems relate to literacy outcomes and how does the home environment buffer children against negative outcomes? To address these questions, this study examines the language acquisition, literacy development, and home environment of 100 children of Puerto Rican descent who attend Head Start. Fifty children acquiring Spanish and English sequentially and 50 acquiring the two languages simultaneously will be studied from the ages of four to six years. The development of a subset of 24 children will be studied in depth. The results of the investigation will inform us of (a) the patterns of bilingual language acquisition that result in better literacy abilities; and (b) specific factors that should be targeted in interventions to facilitate better outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DRG-S (12))
Program Officer
Mccardle, Peggy D
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Pennsylvania State University
Schools of Allied Health Profes
University Park
United States
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Bitetti, Dana; Hammer, Carol Scheffner (2016) The Home Literacy Environment and the English Narrative Development of Spanish-English Bilingual Children. J Speech Lang Hear Res 59:1159-1171
Lewis, Kandia; Sandilos, Lia E; Hammer, Carol Scheffner et al. (2016) Relations Among the Home Language and Literacy Environment and Children's Language Abilities: A Study of Head Start Dual Language Learners and Their Mothers. Early Educ Dev 27:478-494
Cycyk, Lauren M; Bitetti, Dana; Hammer, Carol Scheffner (2015) Maternal Depressive Symptomatology, Social Support, and Language Development of Bilingual Preschoolers From Low-Income Households. Am J Speech Lang Pathol 24:411-25
Davison, Megan Dunn; Hammer, Carol Scheffner (2012) Development of 14 English grammatical morphemes in Spanish-English preschoolers. Clin Linguist Phon 26:728-42
Scarpino, Shelley E; Lawrence, Frank R; Davison, Megan D et al. (2011) Predicting bilingual Spanish-English children's phonological awareness abilities from their preschool English and Spanish oral language. J Res Read 34:77-93
Davison, Megan Dunn; Hammer, Carol; Lawrence, Frank R (2011) Associations between preschool language and first grade reading outcomes in bilingual children. J Commun Disord 44:444-58
Hammer, Carol Scheffner; Lawrence, Frank; Rodriguez, Barbara et al. (2011) Changes in language usage of Puerto Rican mothers and their children: Do gender and timing of exposure to English matter? Appl Psycholinguist 32:275-297
Rodriguez, Barbara L; Hammer, Carol Scheffner; Lawrence, Frank R (2009) Parent Reading Belief Inventory: Reliability and Validity With a Sample of Mexican American Mothers. Early Educ Dev 20:826-844
Hammer, Carol Scheffner; Davison, Megan Dunn; Lawrence, Frank R et al. (2009) The Effect of Maternal Language on Bilingual Children's Vocabulary and Emergent Literacy Development During Head Start and Kindergarten. Sci Stud Read 13:99-121
Hammer, Carol Scheffner; Lawrence, Frank R; Miccio, Adele W (2008) The effect of summer vacation on bilingual preschoolers'language development. Clin Linguist Phon 22:686-702

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