Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Alexandra Gottardo

Advisor Role

Thesis advisor


French Immersion programming in Canada is not always an inclusive environment for all learners. Students with language disabilities or delays are often placed into English-only programming when difficulties arise in French immersion programming. This study aimed to establish a method of identification of reading difficulties, in either language, early in the reading process. Such an assessment would allow educators to intervene and assist these students, and all students, with reading and vocabulary development in their second language of French before these language issues can negatively affect learning.

Essential to language learning in immersion programs is the development of speech perception and lexical specificity, defined as the knowledge of how words should sound in a language. Dynamic assessments in both French and English were used as they focus on how well a student can learn a concept. This project examined second language (L2) French learning in a dynamic way to predict literacy learning in children who are not yet proficient readers in English, their first language (L1). The particular skills of phonological awareness and vocabulary development in both L1 and L2 were examined.

A one-year longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the language abilities of children in French immersion in grade 2. In L1, dynamic assessments were better predictors of vocabulary than static assessments. In L2, static assessments were better predictors of vocabulary than dynamic assessments. In L1, lexical specificity, word reading, phonological awareness (elision), and rapid naming predicted word reading. In L2, phonological awareness (elision) in both French and English, and French word reading predicted word reading.

Convocation Year