It is refreshing to hear that the American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed a policy report published by the Society for Research in Child Development that attempts to put multilingualism in an appropriate and research-based context, allowing the authors to debunk many of the myths about multilingualism that are propagated in the US today. The report is available here. There is a lot of discussion about the role of parental language input, vocabulary development, and policy-based recommendations based on the overview presented in the report, and it is followed by commentary by leading scholars in the field of multilingual research.
Interesting article on the economic push factors spurring the new Puerto Rican diaspora
The New York Times reports on the "worrisome exodus of professionals and middle-class Puerto Ricans who have moved to places like Florida and Texas" in the face of deteriorating economic and social conditions on the island. The upsurge in off-island migration is likened the that of the 1950s "when job shortages on the island forced farmers and rural residents to find factory work in cities like New York and Boston. Today it is doctors, teachers, engineers, nurses, professors who are leaving Puerto Rico behind". The major receiving centers appear to be different then versus now, but the emergence of a new diaspora will have implications on- and off-island.
Stanford study shows differences in learning to read in Spanish compared with English
Claude Goldenberg and his colleagues have a paper in press with American Education Research Journal detailing the results of a comparative study of Spanish reading acquisition in the U.S. and in Mexico. In the U.S., the English approach to teaching initial reading via phonemic awareness is also applied to early Spanish reading instruction. Such is not the case in Mexico, where the syllable is typically the unit of initial instruction. Findings showed that children in Mexico performed significantly below their U.S.-based peers in phonemic awareness in kindergarten (because it wasn't taught), but by second grade the Mexican students either matched or surpassed their peers in the U.S. These findings suggest that applying English approaches to Spanish reading does not make a great deal of sense (at least when it comes to teaching kids to read words) given the orthographic differences between the two languages. The paper is freely available here.