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Study: Bilingualism Can Ease Poverty's Effects

A soon to be published study shows that bilingualism is an asset for students, including those who live in poverty.

The study found that though the bilingual students from low-income homes knew fewer vocabulary words than their monolingual peers, their ability to focus and remain on-task despite distractions was much higher. The study also found that bilingual children had better memory recall and visual processing skills.

Authors suggest that this study not only adds to the growing evidence that bilingualism is an asset to students, but that teaching a second language may be part of effective interventions for students in poverty.

“This is the first study to show that, although they may face linguistic challenges, minority bilingual children from low-income families demonstrate important strengths in other cognitive domains,” study author Engel de Abreu said in a news release.

Read the full, unedited manuscript of the study here (PDF).

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