Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

pp 1-6

Date: Latest Version


  • Eurydice B. BauerAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Email author 
  • , Soria E. ColomerAffiliated withOregon State University


Literacies; first and second language literacy


Biliteracy has undergone definitional changes over the last two decades. Many changes in the field of biliteracy are related to theoretical shifts in how researchers view bilingualism and bilinguals. In this article, the authors define biliteracy and trace various perspectives on the literacy development of bilinguals. In particular, they present early definitions of biliteracy, examine the impact of sociocultural shift on the definition, explore the redefinition of bilingualism and biliteracy, highlight how research in psychology and neuroscience is aligned with educational discussions on biliteracy, look at research in the classroom, and call for continued expansion of research on biliteracy.

What Is Biliteracy?

The term biliteracy represents a fundamental shift from thinking about literacy as an activity that takes place strictly within a given language. Biliteracy, in the way it is being used here, represents what stud ...

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