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It is important to distinguish between language difference and disorder. This holds true with reading. As SLPs it is important to consider whether a student’s reading development is being impeded by a disability or a language difference. What are the main factors affecting student success? Is it a difference in literacy instruction or content/ background knowledge? What has the student’s language acquisition looked like in both languages? How might socio-economic and cultural status be affecting reading development? When possible, we should support bilingual reading development.
Stephanie Downey Toledo is a bilingual speech language pathologist in New York City as well as a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has collaborated with the LEADERS project on this module series and others.
Jiménez, R. T., García, G. E., & Pearson, P. D. (1996). The reading strategies of bilingual Latina/o students who are successful English readers: Opportunities and obstacles. Reading Research Quarterly31(1), 90-112. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1598/RRQ.31.1.5/abstract
Robertson, S. (2009). Reading fluency and the SLP: The nuts, bolts and how-tos. The ASHA Leader
Robertson, S. (2009). Got EQ? The role of emotional intelligence in building cultural proficiency and clinical competence. Special Topics Volume. Communication Disorders Quarterly.