IMRJ13-182 Playful dialogues of a bilingual child in every day conversations

Mary Esther Soto Huerta, Mari Riojas-Cortez


Many young Mexican American bilinguals enter US schools with strong linguistic and early biliterate abilities due to their sociolinguistic environment. Young children’s bilingualism may go unnoticed within schooling contexts that value English over other languages. We used a case study approach to describe how adult-mediated exchanges and playful dialogues guided Lucía, a five-year old bilingual child, to critically use the range of her bilingualism in every day conversations. The language samples describe elements of the child’s cognitive, linguistic, and communicative competencies, how adult-mediated interactions guided Lucía to critically think about language, and inform about the child’s notions about literacy. The adult-mediated dialogues explicitly challenged Lucía to engage her metacognitive and metalinguistic awareness as she assessed communicative goals, solved conceptual conflicts, and appropriated text to create novel utterances. We draw instructional implications about how to sustain the academic learning of young bilinguals by drawing on their existing language and literacy competencies.