Examining the text quality of English/Arabic dual language children’s picture books

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International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism


© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Children’s literature plays an essential role in the development of children’s literacy skills. Dual language learners can particularly benefit from the use of picture books to facilitate comprehension, formulaic language acquisition, and vocabulary acquisition. This paper explores the availability and quality of English/Arabic dual language books in an early years setting in the United Arab Emirates. It is a qualitative study that examines the text quality of 24 English/Arabic dual language picture books available within the setting itself and the affiliated university library. The researchers’ combined experiences with literacy in the context of young children, including experience in choosing appropriate texts for young children, as well as their ontological perspectives as researchers, guide this personal appreciation. The study found issues with availability of book information, translation accuracy, and cultural relevance. In order to have a high quality bilingual picture book, it is crucial that the translation is accurate and reviewed very carefully by experienced authors/editors in both languages to avoid any errors. The major categories generated from this study can serve as a checklist to guide researchers in future studies, educators in various settings and parents in the community, in choosing appropriate dual language books.

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