Spanish Heritage Learners' Emerging Literacy: Empirical Research and Classroom Practice, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Spanish Heritage Learners' Emerging Literacy

Empirical Research and Classroom Practice, 1st Edition

By Flavia Belpoliti, Encarna Bermejo


240 pages

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pub: 2019-08-05
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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.

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


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.

Spanish Heritage Learners’ Emerging Literacy 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

Table of Contents

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




About the Authors

Flavia Belpoliti is Assistant 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 Study Abroad Program in the College of Arts and Humanities at Houston Baptist University.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Spanish Language Teaching

The Routledge Advances in Spanish Language Teaching series provides a showcase for the latest research on the teaching and learning of Spanish. It publishes high-quality authored books, research monographs and edited volumes on innovative methods and theories.

The series takes a multiple-perspective approach, with titles focusing on core topics in the areas of applied linguistics, Spanish language and grammar, second language skills, sociolinguistic and cultural aspects of language acquisition and Spanish for academic purposes. Through a discussion of problems, issues and possible solutions, books in the series combine theoretical and practical aspects, which readers can apply in the teaching of the language.

Published in English or in Spanish, titles in the series are intended for postgraduate students, teachers and university lecturers. They are also ideal for foreign language professionals returning to academic study and for curriculum developers interested in updating their knowledge and expertise. Proposals for the series will be welcomed by the Series Editor.

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