Do Bilingual Children Struggle with Reading?

Some parents think I exaggerate when I say that many children learning English as a second language have problems with reading comprehension which affect their learning and academic success.

So here we have 2017 stats published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the USA.

Before we look at the results, please note that scores are reported on three achievement levels (Basic, Proficient, and Advanced) and measured at 4th and 8th grade.

Let’s have a look at the requirements for the three levels in 4th and 8th grade.

Requirements 4th Grade

Requirements 8th Grade

 

If parents want their children to be successful at school advanced reading skills should be a target.

So how are bilingual children learning English in the USA doing as far as reading is concerned?

4th Grade

Only 9% of fourth-grade students classified as English language learners performed at or above the Proficient level on the reading assessment in 2017. In comparison, 40% of fourth-grade native students performed at or above the Proficient level.

This does not look too good. But some can say that kids in 4th grade are still learning English so scores might improve in later grades.

8th Grade

In 2017, only paltry 5% of eighth-grade students classified as English language learners performed at or above the Proficient level on the reading assessment. In 2017, 39% of eighth-graders native students performed at or above the Proficient level. 

These stats speak for themselves. Few children learning English as a second language in the USA can reach proficiency level in reading and very few the advanced level.

However, it seems that children from certain ethnic backgrounds do better than others (look below).

4th Grade

8th Grade

 

Conclusion:
Parents who care about their bilingual children’s education should actively and consistently help their children develop good reading skills. Otherwise, children might finish off with basic reading skills only.

Source:

https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2017/?grade=4