Learning French sound/spelling links in English primary school classrooms







Two classes (n = 45) of 9- to 11-year-old children in different English primary schools experienced weekly French phonics instruction as part of a foreign language (FL) learning programme. The underpinning rationale of the phonics instruction was that systematic and explicit FL phonics could contribute to the development of FL phonological decoding, operationalised as reading aloud individual word cards. The study explored progression in learning French sound/spelling links over this period with data from a sub-sample of students (n = 23) from both classes. Additional variables such as FL general proficiency and FL literacy, as well as L1 reading age, spelling age, and teacher assessed literacy levels were collected to explore relationships with the development of French phonological decoding. This study found that French sound/spelling links developed slowly but showed significant gains between mid- and post-test and that learning appeared resistant to attrition evidenced by delayed post-test scores. Successful phonological decoders were likely to be successful FL learners generally and proficient in L1 literacy.

Author Biography

Alison Porter, University of Southampton

Alison Porter is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Southampton. Her primary research area is young language learning in instructed settings. She is particularly interested in the teaching and learning of foreign language literacy and has participated in teaching and learning research in both early (ages 5-7) and late (ages 9-11) primary school classrooms. She also taught foreign languages in English primary schools for ten years. Most recently, Dr. Porter collaborated on a large-scale teaching intervention study in early secondary school classrooms (ages 11-13) which aimed to evaluate the effects of different types of reading instruction: phonics and strategy use. In 2017, Dr. Porter established a Southampton University Primary Languages (SUPL) Research and Practice partnership with Emeritus Professor Ros Mitchell. SUPL currently collaborates with 20 local primary schools to co-construct, implement, and evaluate foreign language literacy practices in classrooms. Participating teachers are concurrently trained in classroom research methods, and several small- scale investigations have already resulted. Dr. Porter is also a member of the Research in Primary Language network (RiPL), founded by the University of Essex, which engages with practitioners on a local level as well as national stakeholders in a bid to inform policy and sustainability issues relating to primary foreign language provision.



How to Cite

Porter, A. (2020). Learning French sound/spelling links in English primary school classrooms. EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages, 7(1), 78–107. https://doi.org/10.21283/2376905X.11.187



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