Cognitive Retroactive Transfer (CRT) of Language Skills Among Bilingual Arabic-English Readers

Salim Abu-Rabia, Wael Shakkour, Linda Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the effects of an intervention helping struggling readers improve their reading and writing skills in English as a foreign language (L2), and those same skills in Arabic, which was their first language (L1). Transferring linguistic skills from L2 to L1 is termed cognitive retroactive transfer. Tests were administered to the experimental and control groups that assessed orthographic knowledge, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, syntax awareness, reading accuracy, and reading comprehension in Arabic and English. The experimental group received an intervention program in English, but not in Arabic, and the assessments were administered before and after the intervention. The findings indicated a significant improvement in the experimental group's achievements in all linguistic and metalinguistic skills in both Arabic and English after the English intervention program, with the exception of orthographic knowledge in Arabic. Therefore, foreign language learning can result in improvements in native language skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-81
Number of pages21
JournalBilingual Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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