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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Typical and Atypical Patterns of Language and Literacy in Dual Language Learners (R21)

Deadline: February 16, 2018

The Typical and Atypical Patterns of Language and Literacy in Dual Language Learners (Patterns of Language and Literacy in DLLs) program supports investigator-initiated applications that will inform the understanding of typical and atypical patterns of language and literacy development of dual language learners (DLLs) in the United States. Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of advances in the language sciences and related fields to identify and clarify specific cognitive, linguistic, neurobiological, and sociocultural factors associated with normal and impaired language and literacy acquisition in young DLL populations.

Proposed studies should develop, adapt, and use rigorous approaches to identify determinants that contribute to specific patterns of language and literacy acquisition. The approaches and findings from these studies should be used to define, differentiate, and classify typical and/or atypical patterns of language and literacy development in DLLs. The long-term goals are to identify specific causes of typical and atypical variation in language and literacy acquisition in DLLs, and ultimately to use the information to develop effective assessment, instruction, and intervention strategies to promote robust language and literacy skills and academic success, as well as to prevent or remediate reading and writing difficulties and disabilities among DLLs. Examples of potential applications submitted to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) include but are not limited to the following research areas:

  • Identification of appropriate comparison groups for dual language learners
  • Markers of language disorders that apply across diverse language learning contexts
  • Patterns of language development affected by modality (e.g., sign, print)
  • Methods of differentiating typical and atypical (impaired) language and literacy in DLLs
  • Relationship of divergent patterns of dual language acquisition (e.g., language loss, language attrition, and incomplete acquisition) to language and literacy outcomes
  • Identification of skills during preschool years that predict literacy success in DLLs
  • Extent to which abilities in the home language (L1) influence specific aspects of English language (L2) acquisition and under what circumstances
  • Role of source, quantity, and quality of L1 and L2 input on subsequent language and literacy outcomes central to academic success
  • Effective forms of literacy and language instruction for L1 and/or L2 and the relationship to achievement of English proficiency
  • Innovative methods of dissemination and implementation of best practices with DLLs, including those used with DLLs with disabilities, to clinical and educational audiences
  • Development of more effective methods of identification for and referral to early intervention for DLLs with special needs
  • Dual language learning and its relation to plasticity (e.g., behavioral, brain) during development
  • Identification of effective practices that enhance language and literacy development in DLL populations with known cognitive and/or language challenges (e.g., autism, Down syndrome)
  • Ascertaining the accuracy and validity of DLL assessment
  • Adaptation of adolescent DLLs to L2 instructional environments and its relationship to language and literacy development in L1 and L2

Amount: Awards range up to $275,000 for the full project period (no more than $200,000 can be requested in any single year). The maximum project period is two years.

Eligibility: Higher education institutions; nonprofits; for-profit organizations; governments; and other organizations including independent school districts, Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities, Native American tribal organizations, faith-based or community-based organizations, and regional organizations.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=296051

Note: The R21 exploratory/developmental grant supports investigation of novel scientific ideas or new model systems, tools, or technologies that have the potential for significant impact on biomedical or biobehavioral research. An R21 grant application need not have extensive background material or preliminary information. Reviewers focus their evaluation on the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or, when available, from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required for R21 applications; however, they may be included if available.

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