Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Anne Becher

Second Advisor

Susan Hopewell

Third Advisor

Nina Molinaro


Research has shown that the dual language (DL) education model has been the most academically successful bilingual education framework in the United States thus far (Thomas and Collier 83, 106, 120). One reason for this is that students learning English through DL obtain the language better with additive bilingualism than through transitional bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. Such programs are structured to move students out of their native language, resulting in subtractive bilingualism. Additionally, additive bilingualism in learners of both languages through the two-way immersion DL program has been shown to correlate with high academic performance on state-mandated standardized tests (Thomas y Collier 91-96; Marian, Shook y Schroeder 173-182).

However, there are still points of disagreement in the field of dual language. For example, in their longitudinal study examining 35 elementary schools in three states in Mexico and the U.S., Goldenberg et al. (2014) researched the role of phonemic awareness in literacy development, finding that groups of students who did not receive explicit instruction in phonemic awareness scored higher in vocabulary and comprehension. For this reason, this thesis will combine phonemic awareness and dual language two-way immersion to explore implementing a phonemic awareness component in a two-way dual language (Spanish-English) model. This work argues that explicitly teaching phonemic awareness and metacognitive strategies to students in an elementary dual language program benefits both native Spanish- and English-speaking students’ in learning Spanish and English.

Large Phoneme Map.png (47 kB)
This is an enlarged version of the figure on page 15 of the thesis. It an original diagram of the syllables in the word "horizontal" in Spanish.