Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Comm Sciences and Disorders


Speech Lang Sci & Disorders

Committee Chair

Linda Jarmulowicz

Committee Member

David Kimbrough Oller

Committee Member

Leigh Harrell-Williams

Committee Member

Naomi Eichorn


This dissertation investigated the cross-linguistic development of metalinguistic and literacy skills in the period between kindergarten and 2nd grade in 71 Spanish-speaking English-language learners in two studies. The studies’ goals were to 1) describe the cross-linguistic relationships between kindergarten Spanish and English phonological awareness (PA) and letter identification and later 2nd grade morphological awareness (MA) skills and literacy outcomes as well as 2) explore a developmental, cross-linguistic model of metalinguistic and literacy development in Spanish-speaking ELLs in early elementary school. In the first study, Spanish PA performance in kindergarten accounted for the majority of variance in performance on four MA tasks. Overall, Spanish sound matching performance was the most reliable predictor of performance on all four MA tasks. In the second study, Spanish PA at the end of kindergarten was a significant direct longitudinal predictor of 2nd grade MA and an indirect predictor of spelling. English PA was a significant direct longitudinal predictor of 2nd grade English word reading and spelling. Within the model, Spanish PA was the only significant longitudinal predictor of MA, and English PA was the most significant predictor of spelling skill, overall. Taken together, the results can inform language and literacy assessment procedures for identifying Spanish-speaking ELLs at risk for poor academic outcomes by demonstrating how Spanish and English PA and letter identification skills in kindergarten differentially support accurate MA development, single word spelling, and single word reading.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.