Biliteracy acquisition in Kannada and English: A developmental study Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated the contribution of decoding and language comprehension sub-skills to Kannada and English biliteracy development over three years in multilingual students in urban low-income communities in one large city in India. Syllabic awareness, phonemic awareness and decoding skills were measured in Grades 3-5 (Time 1), and participants were followed to Grades 6-8 (Time 2), when their oral language comprehension and reading comprehension skills were tested. Hierarchical regression results revealed that: (1) both syllabic and phonemic awareness predicted Kannada decoding scores; however, only phonemic awareness predicted English decoding scores; (2) decoding ability from Time 1 and language comprehension skills from Time 2 made unique contributions to reading comprehension skills at Time 2 in both languages; (3) there were significant cross-linguistic relationships between corresponding reading sub-skills at both times; and (4) there was an independent contribution of Kannada decoding to English decoding at Time 1; however, the contribution of Kannada reading comprehension to English reading comprehension at Time 2 was not direct. The theoretical and pedagogical implications of these findings for alphasyllabic-alphabetic biliteracy development are discussed. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

author list (cited authors)

  • Nakamura, P. R., Koda, K., & Joshi, R. M.

citation count

  • 14

publication date

  • November 2013