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1st Edition

Spanish Heritage Learners' Emerging Literacy Empirical Research and Classroom Practice

By Flavia Belpoliti, Encarna Bermejo Copyright 2019
    ISBN 9781138182141
    222 Pages
    Published April 1, 2013 by Routledge

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    ISBN 9781138182134
    222 Pages
    Published August 12, 2019 by Routledge

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    Spanish Heritage Learners' Emerging Literacy: Empirical Research and Classroom Practice introduces a comprehensive, multi-level empirical study on the writing abilities of Spanish Heritage Learners at the beginner level; the findings guide a broad selection of instructional activities and pedagogical resources to support writing development in the heritage language classroom.

    This is the first book dealing exclusively with writing competence among Spanish Heritage Language Learners through the integration of empirical evidence and instructional perspectives to address core questions on heritage language literacy. In addition to the in-depth analysis of Spanish production—spelling, verb usage, grammatical features, vocabulary, and discourse organization—the volume revises the latest perspectives within the Heritage Language Education field, and provides effective teaching approaches, innovative classroom implementations, and up-to-date resources.

    This versatile volume, designed for researchers and practitioners in the fields of Bilingual Education, Language Teaching Methods, and Heritage Language Pedagogy, integrates empirical evidence, global perspectives on heritage language teaching, and suggestions for further research.

    List of Illustrations

    List of Abbreviations



    1. Heritage Languages and Spanish Heritage Language Speakers in the United States

    2. Spanish Orthography in Heritage Language Writing

    3. Spanish Verbs in Emerging Heritage Language Writing

    4. Building Sentences in Spanish: Complexity, Fluency and Accuracy

    5. Spanish Vocabulary Knowledge in Action

    6. Discourse Competence and Emergent Argumentative Writing

    7. Towards a Signature Curriculum for Spanish as a Heritage Language

    8. Teaching and Learning Heritage Languages: New Directions, Enduring Questions





    Flavia Belpoliti is Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Director of the Spanish Graduate Studies Program in the Department of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

    Encarna Bermejo is Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Coordinator of the Spain Study Abroad Program in the College of Arts and Humanities at Houston Baptist University.

    Spanish Heritage Learner's Emerging Literacy: Empirical Research and Classroom Practice (Routledge, UK) is an important contribution to the literature on heritage language teaching and learning. Because of its excellent overview of the field, it is a must read for researchers and practitioners approaching heritage language education from a variety of perspectives.

    Guadalupe Valdés, Stanford University 

    Spanish Heritage Learners’ Emerging Literacy: Empirical Research and Classroom Practice, by co-authors Flavia Belpoliti and Encarna Bermejo, delves into a topic of utmost interest to the field of heritage languages. Anyone involved in the field, from researchers to practitioners in heritage language education contexts, will treasure this book because it provides much needed empirical information followed by how to apply that knowledge in the classroom. The publication is based on a meticulous methodology that measures the emerging writing skills of heritage language learners of Spanish from different viewpoints: From their spelling abilities to discursive competence, including lexical knowledge, command of both form and function of the Spanish verbal system as well as other syntactic elements. It addresses instructional issues, pedagogical approaches, and specific classroom activities for all the linguistic aspects analyzed. Belpoliti and Bermejo should be commended for writing such a well-executed work, that details the linguistic knowledge of beginner Spanish heritage language learners as evidenced in their writing. I look forward to including the text in my graduate seminars as an example of research techniques in the Research in HLE course, and as best-teaching practices in my Methods of SHL course.

    Marta Fairclough, University of Houston

    Spanish Heritage Learners’ Emerging Literacy makes an excellent contribution to the literature on literacy development and pedagogy of Spanish heritage speakers in the United States. It focuses on "emerging literacy in Spanish as a heritage language", an area that has so far been little studied and that is extremely urgent as an increasing number of second and third generation Spanish speakers access higher education being schooled mostly in English. This book is a valuable resource for teachers of Spanish as well as linguists and language practitioners which provides a thorough description of the linguistic features that characterize emerging literacy in Spanish. Based on their empirical analysis of a large number of students, the authors offer a comprehensive blueprint for designing and planning specific classroom learning experiences. Definitely, this book is truly a massive step forward toward our understanding of emerging literacy in Spanish. Bravo!

    María Cecilia Colombi, University of California


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