Differential relationships between language skills and working memory in Turkish-Dutch and native-Dutch first-graders from low-income families
SourceReading and Writing, 30, 9, (2017), pp. 1945-1964
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Reading and Writing
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
In the Netherlands, Turkish-Dutch children constitute a substantial group of children who learn to speak Dutch at the age of four after they learned to speak Turkish. These children are generally academically less successful. Academic success appears to be affected by both language proficiency and working memory skill. The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between language skills and working memory in Turkish-Dutch and native-Dutch children from low-income families. The findings revealed reduced Dutch language and Dutch working-memory skills for Turkish-Dutch children compared to native-Dutch children. Working memory in native-Dutch children was unrelated to their language skills, whereas in Turkish-Dutch children strong correlations were found both between Turkish language skills and Turkish working-memory performance and between Dutch language skills and Dutch working-memory performance. Reduced language proficiencies and reduced working-memory skills appear to manifest itself in strong relationships between working memory and language skills in Turkish-Dutch children. The findings seem to indicate that limited verbal working-memory and language deficiencies in bilingual children may have reciprocal effects that strongly warrants adequate language education.
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