Spelling and Reading Comprehension of Bidialectal and Monolingual Dutch Speaking Children in Primary School

L. Cornips, Jetske Klatter-Folmer, Trudie Schils, Romy Roumans

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


Research has shown that bidialectal children may reveal patterns of language acquisition that differ from monolingual children. In this chapter, we discuss this research and report on a new study addressing the question as to how bidialectal acquisition affects the acquisition of literacy, in particular, spelling and reading comprehension. In order to address this question, this study compared the same monolingual and bidialectal children in the Netherlands in their test results of spelling and reading comprehension in Dutch at two time points during primary school (grades 2 and 6), as well as their growth rates between these time points. The results showed that the bidialectal children in grade 2 scored significantly higher on tests in spelling and reading comprehension compared to the monolingual children. Yet, this head start is no longer evident in grade 6. For reading comprehension bidialectal children show lower growth rates in test scores from grade 2 to grade 6 compared to the monolinguals. We argue that the high phonological correspondences between Dutch and dialect lead to higher phonological awareness for bidialectal children to distinguish between concepts of sound and print needed for early, but not later, literacy acquisition in Dutch.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Literacy in Diglossia and in Dialectal Contexts. Literacy Studies
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN978-3-030-80071-0
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022


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