Language Brokering During Shared EBook Reading
Latino immigrants in the U.S. face language and cultural barriers in gaining access to resources. To overcome those barriers, many Spanish-speaking families engage in language brokering, in which children act as interpreters and translators between parents and U.S. society (Morales & Hanson, 2005). The parent-child interaction during language brokering resembles successful strategies such as “dialogic questioning” that use prompts and questioning to support vocabulary development among young children. The proposed research examined the impact of language brokering on the learning of target words and story comprehension, as well as the interpretation accuracy of Spanish-speaking children between the ages of 5 and 8 who listened to an English narrated eBook with a Spanish-speaking researcher. Despite their young age, participants could provide partial interpretations, from English to Spanish, of the eBook and target words. However, multiple regression analyses indicated that language brokering was not a strong predictor of target vocabulary and story comprehension or interpretation accuracy. Given that dialogic reading requires multiple exposures to the content and the reading strategies to improve language outcomes, it is likely that children needed more opportunities to engage in language brokering with the eBook. This study provides evidence that young children can engage in language brokering with academic content and suggests the need for repeated exposure for a definitive test of the effectiveness of language brokering for learning.