Raising Bilingual-Biliterate Children in Monolingual Cultures

Author: Stephen J Caldas

Related Formats:
Paperback, Ebook(PDF)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
210mm x 148mm
Price: £79.95
Price: $109.95
Price: €94.95

This book is a case study carefully detailing the French/English bilingual and biliterate development of three children in one family beginning with their births and ending in late adolescence. The author and researcher is the children's French/English bilingual American father, who was aided by his bilingual French Canadian wife (also the children's mother). We reared our three children in two different cultures— essentially monolingual English-speaking Louisiana, and totally monolingual French-speaking Québec. The family spent academic years in Louisiana, and the summer months in Québec. Our strategy was to speak only French to our son and our identical twin daughters. We artificially orchestrated and manipulated both the strategies, and to the extent possible, even the children's environments to ensure the success of our project. Additionally, I carefully documented our progress using a variety of research tools, including audio and videotape recordings, teacher and child surveys, interviews with teachers, fieldnotes, psychological and diagnostic testing, and standardized assessment instruments.

Caldas' book is a great bilingual acquisition book that provides a valuable text for a college-level course on bilingual development.

This book reminds us of the value, benefits, and need for bilinguals in our society, and it shows how we can pass on our multiple heritages in the home in a positive manner, even while political policies fail to support languages in our schools and elsewhere. In this sense, this research provides an important example that can help parents and others find the way.

Alvino E. Fantini, School for International Training, in the Modern Language Journal 92:1

The study provides excellent insight into a number of factors affecting familial bilingualism and raising children who are bilingual and biliterate. It is commendable that Caldas is willing to share his family's experiences in such detail, as the study is a valuable contribution to the field of bilingualism.

Kara McAlister, Arizona State University in Linguist List 18.1036

Through the highly praised success story of his own family project on rearing bilingual and biliterate children in monolingual sociocultural contexts, Caldas weaves rich personal experiences with nuanced theoretical insight and rigorous analysis to examine the relationship between bilingual proficiency and academic achievement. This beautifully written work illustrates the power of the family, school, community, and peer group in shaping children's linguistic abilities and sensitizes the reader to profound lessons surrounding bilingualism and the politics of bilingual education. Min Zhou, Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Asian American Studies,

University of California, Los Angeles

A successful example of a mixed-methods approach to longitudinal research, this book presents a comprehensive study of the development of biliteracy and bilingual proficiency that accounts thoroughly for the combined influences of home, school, and community. Steve Caldas succinctly illustrates how evolving bilingual identities fluctuate as they interact to varying degrees with age, geographical setting, and peer versus parental influences. A pleasure to read from beginning to end, this is one of those books that's hard to put down. While the narrative unfolds as an intriguing tale of the trials and tribulations of striving to raise bilingual children mainly in the US, it provides thought-provoking data allowing the reader to confront a range of theoretical perspectives. The narrative's happy ending is certainly an added bonus.

Roy Lyster, Associate Professor, McGill University (Montreal)

This is a beautifully written book about an extraordinary experiment—successfully raising three children French-English bilingual in an English-speaking world. I was kept on the edge of my seat for the entire spell-binding account of the ups and downs of this 18 year experiment and rewarded by its triumphant finish. I am as much in awe of the book and the family, and captivated by the story, as I would be if this had been about their scaling Mt. Everest.

Christine H. Rossell, Professor, Political Science Department, Boston University

Stephen J. Caldas is professor of educational foundations and leadership at the University of Louisiana—Lafayette. He has co-authored three previous books (with Carl L. Bankston III) including the just published book Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation (published by Praeger in 2005), and A Troubled Dream: The Promise and Failure of School Desegregation in Louisiana (2002, Vanderbilt University Press). His research interests include psycholinguistics, socio/psychometrics, desegregation and the social/political contexts of education.



Chapter 1: Introduction and Focus of The Book

Chapter 2: Bilingualism in America

Chapter 3: Methodology: Taking The Measure of The Project

Chapter 4: Bilingual Antecedents

Chapter 5: Home and Community

Chapter 6: The School

Chapter 7: Recreational Reading, Media, Hobbies & Games

Chapter 8: The Psychology of Pre- and Early Adolescent Bilingualism

Chapter 9: The Psychology of Middle Adolescent Bilingualism

Chapter 10: Emerging Bilinguistic Identities

Chapter 11: Taking the Measure of Bilingualism

Chapter 12: Lessons Learned, Broader Implications, and Guidelines for Parents



General, Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate
« Back