Awawdeh, Maryam

Awawdeh, Maryam
Start date:
October 2022
Research Topic:
Reading Skills of Arabic-English Bilingual Children with DLD
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Athanasia Papstergiou and Dr Eirini Sanoudaki
Supervising school:
School of Linguistics & English Language,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Reading for many children is not just a source of comfort or a hobby, but also an integral part of life; reading is needed to achieve academic success as many exams are word-based. Reading disability is prevalent in around 5-10% of school children, which can lead not only to a difficulty in efficient further literacy development but also in society as a whole (Fletcher, 2009). Many children with DLD are known to have difficulties with their reading, therefore the main aim of this study is to investigate whether being bilingual has a significant effect on children with DLD in regards to their reading development.

As Bonuck et al. (2021) concluded in their systemic review, it can be difficult to diagnose DLD in bilingual children especially Arabic-English speakers, as most of the studies examined Spanish-English bilinguals. According to the 2011 Census, other than being proficient in English, around 160,000 of the population aged 3 and over speak Arabic, hence the purpose of the study will add to the research on DLD and bilingualism.

Based on the previously discussed literature review, the proposed study aims to contribute to the research field by answering the following questions:
1. What are the similarities and differences found between the monolingual and bilingual children with DLD groups regarding their literacy skills in terms of executive functions, vocabulary and reading?
2. What are the potential variables (e.g. mother’s educational level or working memory) that may affect children with DLD’s reading development?

Understanding the aspects that form reading comprehension provides insight to researchers on how schools can improve the literacy skills of students or how best to target intervention for children with reading difficulties. Many children are either being under- or over-diagnosed with certain language difficulties, especially bilinguals, therefore this study aims to contribute to current research by highlighting whether bilingualism has a significant effect on children.