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Research Projects


Language-Literacy Growth in Vietnamese Children

Funding: National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH-NIDCD K23 DC014750)

This is a pioneering study on language and literacy development for the Vietnamese language. We will measure language and literacy skills in kindergarten, first, and second grade, and identify language and cognitive predictors of later reading outcomes. Data collection takes place in Vietnam in collaboration with Hanoi National University of Education.


Capitalizing on Cross-Language Similarities in Bilingual Intervention

Funding: 2018 SDSU University Grants Program

This study uses a multiple baseline single subject experimental design to examine the effects of a cognate-based vocabulary intervention for school-age bilingual children with and without developmental language disorder. Research questions are: Can bilingual children improve in cognate awareness? How much explicit instruction is needed? Does increased cognate awareness improve overall vocabulary skills?


What Makes a Good Language Learner?

Funding: 2016 SDSU University Grants Program

In collaboration with San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), this project identified supporting factors for dual-language learning among Vietnamese-speaking children in the early elementary school years. Next to Spanish, Vietnamese is the second most common home language for English learners in SDUSD. However, resources for Vietnamese speakers are few. Outcomes of this project included identifying components that support Vietnamese and English development and the creation of assessment measures for Vietnamese.


Spanish and English Language Sample Transcription

Funding: 2014 University of Massachusetts Amherst Faculty Grant

The purpose of this study is to understand how Spanish-English bilingual children develop discourse skills as they tell stories in each language using the Multilingual Assessment Instrument of Narratives (MAIN: Gagarina et al., 2012). As part of a larger project, over 60 bilingual children in the early school years told stories in each language that we later transcribed and coded using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) software (Miller & Iglesias, 2012).


Project VoLT: Vocabulary Learning and Transfer

Funding: University of Massachusetts Amherst Faculty Research Grant, 2014- 2015 University of Massachusetts Amherst Public Service Endowment Grant, 2013 – 2014

The purpose of VoLT was to examine how bilingual children learn new words and definitions in their first language and transfer skills to English. Participants, aged 6 to 8, spoke either Spanish or Vietnamese as the first language and English. Children were recruited from Barbieri Elementary Spanish Immersion School in Framingham, MA, and VietAID Community Center in Boston, MA. 


Preschoolers Learning Vietnamese and English

Funding: University of Massachusetts Amherst Public Service Endowment Grant, 2013 – 2014

The purpose of this project was to measure Vietnamese and English language skills among preschoolers, ages 3 to 5. Participants were recruited from Au Co Preschool in Boston, MA, a program that has certified teachers fluent in Vietnamese and English. For more information, read initial findings. This poster was presented at the 2014 American Speech-Language Hearing Association Convention in Orlando, FL.


Project CANVAS: Community-based Assessment of Needs for Vietnamese Americans in Springfield

Funding: Western Massachusetts Public Health Training Center, 2012 - 2013

The purpose of CANVAS was to identify the communication needs and skills of children living in Springfield, Massachusetts, who speak Vietnamese as a home language. We collaborated with the Springfield Vietnamese American Civic Association to administer surveys with Vietnamese American parents, conduct child language testing in Vietnamese and English, and analyze local and state educational data. This initial project served as the blank canvas for future collaborative projects that will address the identified needs. For more information, read the article in The Republican or the CANVAS Results Summary.