Music-based and language-based literacies in Spanish-English emergent bilingual first graders: Music aptitude, phonological awareness, and morphological awareness



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The purpose of this study is to understand the relationships among music aptitude, phonological awareness in Spanish, phonological awareness in English, morphological awareness in Spanish and morphological awareness in English among first grade, Spanish-English emergent bi/multilingual students in a mid-sized suburban public school in Texas. A sequential explanatory mixed methodology was employed in which the quantitative portion used a correlational design while the qualitative portion used semi-structured interviews as writing conferences with the participants alongside writing samples to explain the quantitative data. Mixed methods analysis used the qualitative data to explain the quantitative data. This study took a critical quantitative approach, which in turn made the study a critical mixed methodology. Quantitative data indicated statistically significant relationships between (1) music aptitude and phonological awareness in Spanish, (2) phonological awareness in Spanish and phonological awareness in English, (3) phonological awareness in English and morphological awareness in English, and (4) phonological awareness in Spanish and morphological awareness in English. Qualitative data indicated the following themes that arose from the data: (1) music at home: passive listening, (2) music at home: active music making, (3) connecting sound to text: in writing, (4) connecting sound to text: in speech, (5) the presence of translanguaging, and (6) the absence of translanguaging. The qualitative data explained the statistically significant relationships found in the quantitative data. The non-statistically significant data mainly came from relationships among the variables and morphological awareness in Spanish because the test for morphological awareness in Spanish was not appropriate for this population. Implications for music education, bi/multilingual education, early literacy indicators, and assessment. Recommendations for policy, practice, and research including (1) the need to fund early childhood music and bi/multilingual education, (2) the importance of using the arts in bi/multilingual education, (3) the need for quick, valid, and reliable assessment tools for research and practitioner purposes, and (4) the need for researchers to translate critical methodologies to the positivist epistemologies of policymakers so that they can create a better world for minoritized populations.



music education, bilingual education, early childhood literacy