Three studies are reported that examine the development of phonological awareness in monolingual and bilingual children between kindergarten and Grade 2. In the first study, monolingual and bilingual children performed equally well on a complex task requiring phoneme substitution. The second study replicated these results and demonstrated a significant role for the language of literacy instruction. The third study extended the research by including two groups of bilingual children and a range of phonological awareness and reading tasks. Spanish–English bilinguals performed better than English-speaking monolinguals on a phoneme segmentation task, but Chinese–English bilinguals performed worse. Other measures of phonological awareness did not differ among the three groups. The results are discussed in terms of a limit on the effect that bilingualism exerts on metalinguistic development.
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