How does CLIL affect the acquisition of reading comprehension in the mother tongue? A comparative study in secondary education

Esther Nieto


In the last two decades, CLIL (content and language integrated learning) programmes, in which school subjects such as history, geography or mathematics are taught by means of an additional language, have rapidly spread over all the world, since CLIL has been deemed to be an innovative and effective approach for second language learning. Therefore, research on CLIL has precisely focused on the acquisition of the L2, while other aspects, such as the assimilation of the content taught by means of the second language or the impact of CLIL programmes on the mother tongue have received less attention.
In this sense, this paper examines how CLIL programmes affect the development of reading comprehension in the mother tongue. To do so, the outcomes in a test of reading comprehension of CLIL (n = 1,119) and non-CLIL students (= 15,984) enrolled in the 2nd year of secondary education (13-14 years-old) were compared. The results indicated that the acquisition of literal reading comprehension and inferential reading comprehension in the mother tongue significantly benefit from CLIL, whereas no significant differences have been detected in critical reading comprehension. The reading skills most benefited by CLIL were global comprehension, lexical comprehension, understanding of space-time relationships, integration of extra-textual information, and identification of extra-textual relations.
These data are explained by the critical importance of reading strategies to succeed in CLIL settings, and by the transfer of these strategies between L1 and L2 and vice versa. This hypothesis is supported by previous research on immersion programmes.

Texto completo:



Admiraal, W., G. Westhoff, y de Bot, K. (2006). Evaluation of Bilingual Secondary Education in the Netherlands: Students’ Language Proficiency in English. Educational Research and Evaluation 12, 75-93.

Agustín-Llach, M.P. y Canga Alonso, A. (2014). Vocabulary growth in young CLIL and traditional EFL learners: evidence from research and implications for education. International Journal of Applied Linguistics. DOI: 10.1111/ijal.12090

Alonso, E., Grisaleña, J. y Campo, A. (2008). Plurilingual Education in Secondary Schools: Analysis of Results. International CLIL Research Journal 1(1), 36-49.

Badertscher, H. y Bieri, T. (2009). Wissenserwerb im content-and-language integrated learning. Bern-Stuttgart-Wien, Switzerland: Haupt.

Bergroth, M. (2006). Immersion students in the matriculation examination Three years after immersion. En K. Björklund, M. Mård-Miettinen, M. Bergström and M. Södergård (Eds.), Exploring Dual-Focussed Education. Integrating Language and Content for Individual and Societal Needs. Recuperado el 25 de junio, 2016 de:

Bialystok E., Craik F.I. y Freedman, M. (2007). Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia. Neuropsychologia 45 (2), 459-464.

Canga Alonso, A. (2015). Receptive Vocabulary of CLIL and Non-CLIL Primary and Secondary School Learners. Complutense Journal of English Studies 23, 59-77.

Coyle, D., Hood, P. y Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge: CUP.

Dalton-Puffer, C. (2011). Content-and-Language Integrated Learning: From Practice to Principles? Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 31, 182–204.

Dalton-Puffer, C. (2008). Outcomes and processes in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL): current research from Europe. En W. Delanoy y L. Volkmann (Eds.), Future Perspectives for English Language Teaching (139-157). Heidelberg: Carl Winter.

De Jabrun, P. (1997). Academic achievement in late partial immersion French. Babel 32 (2), 20-37.

De Samblanc, G. (2006). De immersiescholen in de Franse Gemeenschap. Lezing gehou den op de studiedag Meertaligheid en basisonderwijs, 9 june 2006. Brussel: Ministerie van onderwijs.

De Vriese, W. (2007). Een kwalitatief onderzoek in een immersieschool. Lees- en rekenvaardigheden in het tweede leerjaar. Bruxelles: Université libre de Bruxelles.

Eiguren, I. (2006). Aterriko hizkuntza goiztiarrarren eragina gaitasun eleaniztunean. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Vitoria Gasteiz: University of the Basque Country.

Fortune, T. W. y Tedick, D. J. (2003). What parents want to know about foreign language immersion programs. ERIC Digest, Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. Recuperado el 25 de junio, 2016 de:

Gallardo del Puerto, F., García Lecumberri, M. y Gómez Lacabex, E. (2009). Testing the effectiveness of content and language integrated learning in foreign language contexts: Assessment of English pronunciation. En Y. Ruiz de Zarobe y R. M. Jiménez Catalán (Eds.), Content and language integrated learning: Evidence from research in Europe (pp. 215–234). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Gassner, D. Maillat, D. (2006). Spoken competence in CLIL: a pragmatic take on recent Swiss data. Vienna English Working Papers (Views) 15(3), 15-22.

Genesee, F. (1991). Second language learning in schools settings: Lessons from immersion. En A. Reynolds (Ed.). Bilingualism, multiculturalism, and second language learning (pp.183-201). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Genesee, F. (1994). Integrating Language and Content: Lessons from Immersion, eScholarship, CREDE. 1-12. Recuperado el 25 de junio, 2016 de:

Genesee, F. (2007). Literacy outcomes in French immersion. Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development (pp. 1-8). London, ON: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. Recuperado el 25 de junio, 2016 de:

Genesee, F. y Jared, D. (2008). Literacy Development in Early French Immersion Programs. Canadian Psychology 49 (2), 140-147.

Grisaleña, J., Campo, A. y Alonso, E. (2009). Enseñanza plurilingüe en centros de educación secundaria: análisis de resultados. En Revista Iberoamericana de Educación 49 (1), 1-12.

Housen, A. (2002). Processes and outcomes in the European schools model of multilingual education. Bilingual Research Journal 26 (1), 45–64.

Jäppinen, A.K. (2005). Thinking and Content Learning of Mathematics and Science as Cognitional Development in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL): Teaching Through a Foreign Language in Finland. Language & Education 19(2), 148-169.

Jiménez, R.M. y Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. (2009). The Receptive Vocabulary of EFL Learners in Two Instructional Contexts: CLIL versus non-CLIL Instruction. En Y. Ruiz de Zarobe y R.M. Jiménez Catalán, R.M. (eds.), Content and Language Integrated Learning. Evidence from Research in Europe (pp 81-92). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Lambert, W. E. y Tucker, G. R. (1972). Bilingual Education of Children: The St. Lambert Experience. Newbury: Rowley.

Lasagabaster, D. (2008). Foreign Language Competence in Content and Language Integrated Learning. Open Applied Linguistics Journal 1, 31–42.

Lasagabaster, D. y Doiz, A. (2016). CLIL students’ perceptions of their language learning process: Delving into self-perceived improvement and instructional preferences. Language awareness. DOI:10.1080/09658416.2015.1122019

Lasagabaster, D. y López Beloqui, R. (2015). The Impact of Type of Approach (CLIL versus EFL) and Methodology (Book-Based Versus Project Work) on Motivation. Porta Linguarum 23 (1), 41-57.

Lasagabaster, D. y Sierra, J. M. (2009). Language attitudes in CLIL and traditional EFL classes. International CLIL Research Journal 1(2), 4-17.

Lamsfuß-Schenk, S. (2002). Geschichte und Sprache – ist der bilinguale Geschichtsunterricht der Königsweg zum Geschichtsbewusstsein? En S. Breidbach, G. Bach y D. Wolff (Eds). Bilingualer Sachfachunterricht: Didaktik, Lehrer-/ Lernerforschung und Bildungspolitik zwischen Theorie und Empirie (191-206). Peter Lang.

Lapkin, S., Hart, D., y Turnbull, M. (2003). Grade 6 French immersion students’ performance on large-scale reading, writing, and mathematics tests: Building explanations. Alberta Journal of Education 49, 6-23.

Lázaro, A. (2012) Faster and Further Morphosyntactic Development of CLIL vs. EFL Basque-Spanish Bilinguals Learning English in High-School. IJES 12(1), 79-96.

Lecocq, K., Mousty, Ph., Kolinsky, R., Goetry, V. Morais y J., Alegria, J. (2004). Evaluation des programmes d’immersion en communauté française: une étude longitudinale comparative du développement des compétences linguistiques d’enfants francophones immergés en néerlandais. ULB: Ministère de la Communauté française.

Loranc-Paszylk, B. (2009). Integrating Reading and Writing into the Context of CLIL Classroom: Some Practical Solutions. International CLIL Research Journal, 1 (2) 46-53.

Lorenzo, F. (2010). CLIL in Andalusia. En D. Lagasabaster y Y. Ruiz de Zarobe (eds.), CLIL in Spain: Implementation, Results and Teacher Training (pp. 2-11). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Madrid, D. (2011). Monolingual and Bilingual Students’ Competence in Social Studies. En D. Madrid y S. Hughes (Eds.), Studies in Bilingual Education (pp.195-222). Bern: Peter Lang.

Mehisto, P. y Marsh, D. (2011). Approaching the Economic, Cognitive and Health benefits of Bilingualism: Fuel for CLIL. En Y. Ruiz de Zarobe, J. Sierra y F. Gallardo del Puerto (Eds.). Content and Foreign Language Integrated Learning (pp. 21-48). Bern: Peter Lang.

Méndez, A. (2004). Los girasoles ciegos. Barcelona: Anagrama

Méndez García, M.C. (2014). A Case Study on Teachers’ Insights into Their Students’ Language and Cognition Development through the Andalusian CLIL Programme. Porta Linguarum 22, 23-39.

Merikivi, R. y Pietilä, P. (2014). Vocabulary in CLIL and in Mainstream Education. Journal of Language Teaching and Research 5(3) 487-497. DOI:10.4304/jltr.5.3.487-497

Merino, J.A. y Lasagabaster, D. (2015). CLIL as a way to multilingualism. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2015.1128386

Merisuo-Storm, T. (2007). Pupils’ attitudes towards foreign-language learning and the development of literacy skills in bilingual education. Teaching and Teacher Education 23(2), 226–35.

Naves, T. (2011). How Promising Are the Results of Integrating Content and Language for EFL Writing and Overall EFL Proficiencyy? En Y. Ruiz de Zarobe, J. Sierra y F. Gallardo del Puerto (eds.), Content and Foreign Language Integrated Learning (pp 103-128). Bern: Peter Lang.

Navés, T. y Victori, M. (2010). CLIL in Catalonia: An Overview of Research Studies. En Y. Ruiz de Zarobe y D. Lasagabaster (eds.), CLIL in Spain: Implementation, Results and Teacher Training (pp.30-54). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

Nieto, E. (2012). CLIL and development of emotional competence. Miscelanea. A Journal of English and American Studies 45, 53-74.

Nieto, E. (2016a). The impact of CLIL on the acquisition of L2 competences and skills in primary education. International Journal of English Studies, IJES 16(2).

Nieto, E. (2016b). The Impact of CLIL on the Acquisition of the Learning to Learn Competence in Secondary School Education in the Bilingual Programmes of Castilla-La Mancha. Porta Linguarum 25(1), 21-34.

Pérez Cañado, M.L. (2016). From the CLIL craze to the CLIL conundrum: Addressing the current CLIL controversy. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, 9(1), 9-31.

Pérez Cañado, M. L. (2011). The Effects of CLIL within the APPP: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward. En R. Crespo y M. García de Sola (eds.), Studies in Honour of Ángeles Linde López (pp. 389-406). Granada: Universidad de Granada,

Pérez Cañado, M. L. y Ráez Padilla, J. (2015). Introduction and overview. En D. Marsh, M.L. Pérez Cañado, y J. Ráez Padilla (Eds.), CLIL in action: Voices from the classroom (pp. 1-12). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. (2011). Which Language competencies benefit from CLIL? An Insignt into Applied Linguistic Research. En Y. Ruiz de Zarobe, J. Sierra y F. Gallardo del Puerto (Eds.), Content and Foreign Language Integrated Learning (pp. 129-153). Berne: Peter Lang.

Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. y Lasagabaster, D. (2010). CLIL in a bilingual community: the basque autonomous community. En D. Lasagabaster y Y. Ruiz de Zarobe (Eds.). CLIL in Spain: Implementation, results and teacher training (pp. 13-29). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

San Isidro, X. (2009). Galicia: Clil Success in a Bilingual Community. En D. Marsh, P. Mehisto, D. Wolff, R. Aliaga, T. Asikainen, M.J Frigols-Martin, S. Hughes y G. Langé (eds.), CLIL Practice: Perspectives from the Field, (pp. 4-13). Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, Recuperado el 25 de junio, 2016 de: Ll

San Isidro, X. (2010). An Insight into Galician CLIL: Provision and Results. En D. Lasagabaster y Y. Ruiz de Zarobe (eds.), CLIL in Spain: Implementation, results and teacher training (pp 55-78). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

Seikkula-Leino, J. (2007). CLIL learning: Achievement levels and affective factors. Language and Education 21 (4), 328-341.

Sierra, J.M, Gallardo del Puerto, F. y Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. (2011). Good practice and future actions on CLIL: Learning and Pedagogy. En Y. Ruiz de Zarobe, J. Sierra, J. y F. Gallardo del Puerto (Eds.). Content and Foreign Language Integrated Learning (pp. 317-338). Berne: Peter Lang.

Stohler, U. (2006). The acquisition of knowledge in bilingual learning: an empirical study on the role of language in content learning. VIEWZ Vienna English Working Papers 15(3), 41-46.

Swain, M. y Lapkin, S. (1982). Evaluating bilingual education: A Canadian case study. Clevedon, Eng.: Multilingual Matters.

Sylvén, L.K. y Ohlander, S. (2014). The CLISS Project: Receptive Vocabulary in CLIL versus non-CLIL Groups. Moderna språk 2014:2, 80-114.

Tobin, N. A. y Abello-Contesse, C. (2013). The use of native assistants as language and cultural resources in Andalusia’s bilingual schools. En C. Abello-Contesse, P. M. Chandler, M. D. López-Jiménez, y R. Chacón-Beltrán (Eds.), Bilingual and multilingual education in the 21st century. Building on experience (pp. 231-255). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Van de Craen, P., Mondt, K., Allain, L. y Gao, Y. (2007). Why and How CLIL Works. An Outline for a CLIL Theory. VIEWS Vienna English Working Papers 18 (3), 70-78.

Van de Craen, P., Lochtman K., Ceuleers, E., Mondt, K. y Allain, L. (2007). An interdisciplinary approach to CLIL learning in primary schools in Brussels. En C. Dalton- Puffer, U. Smit (Eds.). Empirical Perspectives on CLIL Classroom Discourse (pp. 253-274). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Van de Craen, P., Ceuleers, E. y Mondt, K. (2007). Cognitive development and bilingualism in primary schools: teaching maths in a CLIL environment. En D. Marsh y D. Wolff (Eds.). Diverse Contexts – Converging Goals. CLIL in Europe (pp. 185-200). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Wolff, D. (2005). Approaching CLIL. En D. Marsh (Ed.). The CLIL Quality Matrix. Central Workshop Report (pp. 10-25). Recuperado el 25 de junio, 2016 de:

Vollmer, H.J., Heine, L., Troschke, R., Coetzee, D. y Küttel, V. (2006). Subject specific competence and language use of CLIL learners: The case of geography in grade 10 of secondary schools in Germany. ESSE8 Conference, 29 de agosto de 2006: Londres.

Várkuti, A. (2010). Linguistic Benefits of the CLIL Approach: Measuring Linguistic Competences. International CLIL Research Journal 1 (3), 67-79.

Washburn, L. (1997). English immersion in Sweden. A case study of Röllingby High School 1987-1989. Stockholm: University of Stockholm.

Xantou, M. (2011). The impact of CLIL on L2 vocabulary development and content knowledge. English Teaching: Practice and Critique December 10(4), 116-126. Recuperado el 25 de junio, 2016 de:

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Copyright (c) 2017 Investigaciones Sobre Lectura


Además, está indexada en los catálogos UBUCAT (Universidad de Burgos), Universidad Nebrija, Universidad de La Rioja, CRAI (Universidad Pablo de Olavide), Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad de Navarra, Linceo+ (UNED), Universitat de Girona, AlcorZe (Universidad de Zaragoza), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad de Alicante, y Universidad de Granada

Investigaciones sobre Lectura (ISL)

ISSN 2340-8685


Información de contacto: