Share This Article:

A Study into the Results of an Intervention Program of Linguistic Skills in English (L2) and Its Effect on Hebrew (L1) among Poor Readers: An Examination of the Cognitive-Retroactive Transfer (CRT) Hypothesis

Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:145KB) PP. 131-139
DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2012.24017    14,743 Downloads   46,049 Views   Citations


The present study examined whether an improvement in English as a second language causes an improvement among poor readers in Hebrew as the first language. This assumption is named in the present study “The Cognitive-Retroactive Transfer (CRT) hypothesis of linguistic skills”. The participants were 20 sixth-grade poor readers from Israeli elementary schools, with Hebrew as their first language, and who learn English as their second language. All the students in the program participated in small group instruction sessions that emphasized linguistic and meta-linguistic skills in the second language (English). The program, which was administered over a 5-month period, involved approximately 40 hours of contact with a trained instructor. The participants were administered various tests which measured their basic linguistic skills in English as well as in Hebrew. The tests were as follows: phonological awareness, phonological processing, word identification, reading fluency, reading comprehension, morphological awareness, syntactic awareness, orthographic knowledge and spelling. The tests in both languages were given to the participants before and after the intervention program. The test results indicated significant differences both in English and in Hebrew before and after the intervention program for all linguistic skills (except orthographic knowledge). The findings provide scientific support for the Cognitive-Retroactive Transfer (CRT) hypothesis, which means that an improvement in linguistic and meta-linguistic skills in a second language will be expected to give rise to a similar improvement in the first language as well. The results are discussed in light of the findings in the literature as well as suggestions for future research.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Abu-Rabia, S. & Bluestein-Danon, D. (2012). A Study into the Results of an Intervention Program of Linguistic Skills in English (L2) and Its Effect on Hebrew (L1) among Poor Readers: An Examination of the Cognitive-Retroactive Transfer (CRT) Hypothesis. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 2, 131-139. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2012.24017.


[1] Abu-Rabia, S., & Sanitzky, I. (2010). Advantages of bilingualism over monolingualism in learning a third language. Bilingual Research Journal, 32, 173-199.
[2] Abu-Rabia, S., & Siegel, L. S. (2002). Reading, syntactic and working memory skills of bilingual Arabic-speaking children. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 31, 661-678. doi:10.1023/A:1021221206119
[3] Abu-Rabia, S., & Siegel, L. S. (2003). Reading skills in three orthographies: The case of trilingual Arabic-Hebrew-English speaking Arab children. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 16, 611 634. doi:10.1023/A:1025838029204
[4] Cisero, C. A., & Royer, J. M. (1995). The development and cross-language transfer of phonological awareness. New York: Longman.
[5] Cummins, J. (1991). Interdependence of first and second language pro ficiency in bilingual children. In E. Bialystock (Ed.), Language processing in bilingual children (pp. 70-89). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511620652.006
[6] Domínguez De Ramírez, R., & Shapiro, E. S. (2007). Cross-language relationship between Spanish and English oral reading fluency among Spanish-speakers English language learners in bilingual education classrooms. Psychology in the School, 44, 795-806. doi:10.1002/pits.20266
[7] Durguno?lu, A. Y. (2002). Cross-linguistic transfer in literacy development and implications for language learners. Annals of Dyslexia, 52, 189-204. doi:10.1007/s11881-002-0012-y
[8] Durguno?lu, A. Y., Mir, M., & Ari?o-Martí, S. (2002). The relationship between bilingual children’s reading and writing in their two languages. In S. Ransdell, & M. L. Barbier (Eds.), Psycholinguistic approaches to understanding second-language writing (pp. 81-100). Dordrecht: Kluwer.
[9] Eviatar, Z., & Ibrahim, R. (2004). Morphological and orthographic effects on hemispheric processing of nonwords: A cross-linguistic comparison. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 17, 691-705. doi:10.1007/s11145-004-2659-8
[10] Geva, E. (1995). Orthographic and cognitive processing in learning to read English and Hebrew. In I. Taylor, & R. D. Olson (Eds.), Scripts and literacy (pp. 277-291). Dordrecht: Kluwer. doi:10.1007/978-94-011-1162-1_18
[11] Geva, E., & Siegel, L. (2000). Orthographic and cognitive factors in the concurrent development of basic reading skills in two languages. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 12, 1-30. doi:10.1023/A:1008017710115
[12] Geva, E., Wade-Wooley, L., & Shany, M. (1997). The development of reading efficiency in first and second language. Scientific Studies of Reading, 1, 119-144. doi:10.1207/s1532799xssr0102_2
[13] Geva, E., Yaghoub-Zadeh, Z., & Schuster, B. (2000). Understanding individual differences in word recognition skills of ESL children. Dyslexia, 50, 123-154.
[14] Gholamain, M., & Geva, E. (1999). Orthographic and cognitive factors in the concurrent development of basic reading skills in English and Persian. Language Learning, 49, 183-217. doi:10.1111/0023-8333.00087
[15] Goodman, K. S. (1971). Psycholinguistic universals in the reading process. In P. Pimsleur & T. Quinn (Eds.), The psychology of second language learning (pp. 135-142). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[16] Kahn-Horwitz, J. (2006). English as a foreign language—A non formal test battery. Haifa: Yozma.
[17] Koda, K. (1999). Development of L2 intraword orthographic sensitivity and decoding skills. Modern Language Journal, 83, 51-64. doi:10.1111/0026-7902.00005
[18] Koda, K. (2007). Reading and language learning: Cross linguistic con straints on second language reading development. Language Learning, 57, 1-44. doi:10.1111/0023-8333.101997010-i1
[19] Lee, J. W., & Schallert, D. L. (1997). The relative contribution of L2 language proficiency and L1 reading ability to L2 reading performance: A test of the threshold hypothesis in an EFL context. Tesol Quarterly, 31, 719-739. doi:10.2307/3587757
[20] Leikin, M., Share, D. L., & Schwartz, M. (2005). Difficulties in L2 He brew reading among Russian-speaking second graders. Reading and Writing, 18, 455-472. doi:10.1007/s11145-005-8919-4
[21] Miller-Guron, L., & Lundberg, I. (2000). Dyslexia and second language reading: A second bite at the apple? Reading and Writing: An Inter disciplinary Journal, 12, 41-61. doi:10.1023/A:1008009703641
[22] Muter, V., & Diethelm, K. (2001). The contribution of phonological skills and letter knowledge to early reading development in a multi lingual population. Language Learning, 51, 187-219. doi:10.1111/1467-9922.00153
[23] Quiroda, T., Lemos-Britton, Z., Mostafapour, E., Abbott, R. D., & Berninger, V. W. (2002). Phonological awareness and beginning reading in Spanish-speaking ESL first graders: Research into practice. Journal of School Psychology, 40, 85-111. doi:10.1016/S0022-4405(01)00095-4
[24] Shany, M., Lachman, D., Shalem, Z., Bahat, A., & Zeiger, T. (2005). “Alep-Taph”—An assessment system for reading and writing disabilities. Tel Aviv: Yesod Publishing.
[25] Shimron, J., & Sivan, T. (1994). Reading proficiency and orthography: Evidence from Hebrew and English. Language Learning, 44, 5-27.
[26] Siegel, L., Share, D., & Geva, E. (1995). Evidence for superior orthographic skills in dyslexics. Psychological Science, 6, 250-254. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.1995.tb00601.x
[27] Sparks, R. (1995). Examining the linguistic coding differences hypo thesis to explain individual differences in foreign language learning. Annals of Dyslexia, 45, 187-214. doi:10.1007/BF02648218
[28] Sparks, R., Patton, J., Ganschow, L., Humbach, N., & Javorsky, J. (2008). Early first-language reading and spelling skills predict later second-language reading and spelling skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, 162-174. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.100.1.162
[29] Sparks, R., Philips, L., & Javorsky, J. (2003). College students classified as having learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the foreign language requirement. Foreign Language Annals, 36, 325-337. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.2003.tb02117.x
[30] Tov-li, E. (2000). A reading and writing test battery for 1st 9th graders (in Hebrew). Kiriat Bialik: Ach.
[31] Van Gelderen, A., Schoonen, R., De Glopper, K., Hulstijn, J., Simis, A., Snellings, P., & Stevenson, M. (2004). Linguistic knowledge, processing speed, and metacognitive knowledge in first and second language reading comprehension: A componential analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 19-30. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.96.1.19
[32] Vazan, N. (2000). Moreunseens 1. Ra’anana: Eric Cohen Books.
[33] Verhoeven, L. (1994). Transfer in bilingual development: The linguistic interdependence hypothesis revisited. Language Learning, 44, 381 415. doi:10.1111/j.1467-1770.1994.tb01112.x
[34] Wang, M., Cheng, C., & Chen, S. (2006). Contribution of morphological awareness to Chinese-English biliteracy acquisition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 542-553. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.98.3.542
[35] Wang, M., Park, Y., & Lee, K. R. (2006). Korean-English biliteracy acquisition: Cross-language phonological and orthographic transfer. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 148-158. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.98.1.148
[36] Wang, M., Perfetti, C. A., & Liu, Y. (2005). Chinese-English biliteracy acquisition: Cross-language and writing system transfer. Cognition, 97, 67-88. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2004.10.001
[37] Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: A psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 3-29. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.1.3

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.