Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Rodolfo Martinez


The problem under investigation in this study was to determine whether there was a relationship between native Vietnamese language literacy and English language reading achievement of Vietnamese High School students. This research was needed in order to identify literacy in L1 is transferred and enhances reading achievement in L2. This study was focused on a group of 90 LEP Vietnamese speaking students, who attended 9th and 10th grades level in three high schools in urban public school district with the Native Language Skill Test. The median for the NLST scores was the criterion used to form two categories of cognitive literacy styles - illiterate and literate. The reading scores on the California Achievement Test (CAT) was used as the dependent variable in this study. Analysis using t-tests for two independent samples were performed to provide evidence of statistically significant differences between illiterate and literate subjects in reading scores. The reading comprehension of English story was higher for literate independent than for illiterate independent subjects. Significant differences were also found between 9th and 10th grade students, as well as for the interaction between grade and literacy levels. Results of these analyses confirmed the existence of a significantly positive relationship between the achievement of LEP students in English reading and their degree of literacy in the native language. The will to preserve the Vietnamese language is as strong as the desire to master English to perfection. Once some degree of proficiency is achieved in Vietnamese, the phenomenon of "Prior Knowledge" and "interdependence of Learning" come to play and the abilities acquired in Vietnamese can then be transferred to English.