Syntactic Awareness and Reading Comprehension in Emergent Bilingual ChildrenThe present study investigated the role of syntactic awareness in reading comprehension among English–French bilinguals learning French as an additional language in Canadian French immersion programs. We examined the direct effect of French syntactic awareness on French reading comprehension as well as the indirect effects mediated through French word reading and French vocabulary. We further examined the extent to which English syntactic awareness contributed to French reading comprehension through cross-language transfer, again considering both the direct effect and the indirect effects through French word reading and French vocabulary. Mediation analyses indicated that, within French, the relationship between French syntactic awareness and French reading comprehension was fully mediated by both French word reading and French vocabulary. In contrast, English syntactic awareness contributed directly to French reading comprehension. Finally, French word reading partially mediated the relationship between English syntactic awareness and French reading comprehension. Our study suggests that children who learn French as an additional language rely on word reading and vocabulary, in addition to French syntactic awareness, to comprehend French texts. Given that English is French immersion children’s stronger language, they use English syntactic awareness to support French reading comprehension both directly and indirectly through French word reading.
Exploring the validity and reliability of online assessment for conversational, narrative, and expository discourse measures in school-aged childrenThe COVID-19 pandemic has created novel challenges in the assessment of children's speech and language. Collecting valid data is crucial for researchers and clinicians, yet the evidence on how data collection procedures can validly be adapted to an online format is sparse. The urgent need for online assessments has highlighted possible the barriers such as testing reliability and validity that clinicians face during implementation. The present study describes the adapted procedures for on-line assessments and compares the outcomes for monolingual and bilingual children of online and in-person testing using conversational, narrative and expository discourse samples and a standardized vocabulary test. A sample of 127 (103 in-person, 24 online) English monolinguals and 78 (53 in-person, 25 online) simultaneous French-English bilinguals aged 7–12 years were studied. Discourse samples were analyzed for productivity, proficiency, and syntactic complexity. MANOVAs were used to compare on-line and in-person testing contexts and age in two monolingual and bilingual school-age children. No differences across testing contexts were found for receptive vocabulary or narrative discourse. However, some modality differences were found for conversational and expository. The results from the study contribute to understanding how clinical assessment can be adapted for online format in school-aged children.