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    Case Studies: The impact of bilingualism and working memory on reading acquisition by Crow, Elizabeth

    Abstract The following case study involved two students with disabilities, Cassie and Andi, who received small-group reading instruction through the Take Flight Reading ProgramĀ©. The students were chosen because formal testing revealed both students have working memory impairments, language deficits, and are English Language Learners (ELLs). After two years of regular classroom and intervention instruction the students did not demonstrate growth in reading fluency commensurate with their peers. The purpose of examining this case study was to answer the following three questions: 1) Does dual language learning tax the cognitive capacity of children with disabilities? 2) Are there similarities and differences in reading acquisition and impairment between monolingual and bilingual students? 3) To what extent do working memory deficits impact the reading acquisition skills of bilingual students? Research indicates that children with disabilities are capable of learning a second language and that although there are a few differences in reading acquisition and impairment between monolingual and bilingual children there are many similarities. Studies also show that working memory is an integral component in reading development, and short-term memory and working memory deficits contribute to reading difficulties regardless of whether one is monolingual or bilingual.