Transitioning from L1 to L2 reading: patterns, at risk profiles, and success indicators of students in French immersion

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University of New Brunswick


This article style dissertation focuses on gaining a better understanding of individual reading differences amongst second language students in order to help identify immersion readers at risk for reading difficulties. Set within the political context of controversial changes to the delivery of early French immersion in the province of New Brunswick in 2008, this study explores key second language issues, particularly with respect to accessibility to French immersion for various types of learners, the identification of and support for students at risk in French immersion, and first and second language reading development. More specifically, teachers' assessment of students' first language reading abilities as it relates to the suitability of French immersion for a wide range of students is explored as are students' first and second language reading experiences as they transitioned into French immersion. Findings shed light on the ability to identify students who may be at risk for reading difficulties in their second language using first and second language early literacy indicators and profiles, the role of cross-linguistic transfer, and students' knowledge of and use of strategies. This study contributes to the field of second language education by adding academic knowledge to the French immersion debate. This study may also be influential in changing perceptions of French immersion as an elitist program by outlining the potential for greater inclusivity in the program.