Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Roger L. Reimer

First Committee Member

Fred Muskal

Second Committee Member

Halvor Hansen

Third Committee Member

Augustine Garcia

Fourth Committee Member

Randall Rockey


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect that the language of instruction has on the reading ability of limited English speaking students at the secondary school. Procedure. Reading test scores from several secondary school districts in California were subjected to statistical analyses to ascertain the effect that the language of instruction had on the reading ability of secondary students with a linguistically distinct background, namely, a Spanish mother tongue. Two dependent variables were used, English and Spanish reading test scores. The independent variable, reading instructional treatment, conducted in English, Spanish, or bilingually. The data was analyzed by ANCOVA and the post-hoc comparison of test means, Scheffe. Conclusion. This study suggests mother tongue reading instruction of limited English speaking secondary students promotes literacy in the first language and has a positive effect on the reading ability in the second language. The improved literacy in the mother tongue promotes English language reading skills. Recommendations. An improvement in the state of the art in bilingual, bicultural education is essential if this educational alternative is to become a viable phase of general education. Research designs that are compatible to the population to be studied should be explored and utilized. The assessment instruments that ascertain the student's language proficiency and basic skills achievement should be used as effective guides in selecting a course of studies that serves the educational interest of the student and his/her family. Administrators should utilize practices that aggressively recruit bilingual, bicultural, biliterate teachers. Site administrators, bilingual coordinators and bilingual staff should seek methods and techniques that promote and enable them to implement services to the linguistically distinct students that provide equal status to the mother tongue while the student learns the second language. A sequential non-graded language development program in both languages that incorporate an open entry/exit curriculum to foster an opening up of the traditional curriculum to any students in the secondary school should be developed and implemented by the staff working with the students.



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