The rich languaging practices of simultanous bilingual children: Linguistic ability, agency, and flexibility
There is a lack of research on bilingualism and biliteracy, specifically on simultaneous bilingual children. The present study seeks to provide research on the literacy practices of simultaneous bilingual prekindergarten and kindergarten children as they begin their formal schooling. The study focused on their language competencies in English and Spanish, how they used their receptive and productive language in different spaces and with different people, and how their language abilities were evident in their school writing. Four students from the same elementary school were chosen for this study. I collected the following data over a four-month period: a report of each student’s Home Language Survey, each student’s IDEA Language Proficiency Test results (IPT) rating the student’s oral proficiency level in both English and Spanish, parent and teacher interviews, field notes from observing students at school, student writing conferences, and artifacts (including students’ writing samples). The data were analyzed using a grounded theory method. The data analysis software NVIVO 12 was used to compile and process the codes, consolidating them into three main themes that represented the participants’ bilingual identities: bilingual ability, bilingual agency, and bilingual flexibility. Their languages interacted as one system in the process of meaning making, demonstrating their bilingualism. Unfortunately, in our current education system these children are often approached as two monolinguals in one in their literacy instruction and learning. However, there is ongoing research in the area of bilingual education that provides insight on how we can best support these children in their bilingual and biliterate development. This research supports a holistic view of bilingualism which enables us to understand the importance of allowing bilingual children to use their broad range of linguistic resources to make meaning and assist them in their cognitive development (Gort, 2019).