At a glance

Lead researcher:

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana,

Northwestern University

Key findings:

Children of immigrant parents often perform translating tasks for their families that are more complex than educators realize. They also may build a range of literacy skills that can boost their test scores.

Who was studied:

Researchers surveyed 280 children at a predominantly Latino elementary school on the Northwest Side, and observed 18 of them at home and school.

Recommendations:

Teachers need professional development to understand the link between family translating and literacy skills. They also need to view children’s primary language as a resource rather than an obstacle.

For more information:

The study, “In other words: Translating or ‘para-phrasing’ as a family literacy practice in immigrant households,” can be found in Reading Research Quarterly, Jan./Feb./Mar. 2003, published by the International Reading Association.