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A growth trajectory marked by a decreasing growth rate, however, characterized the development of morphological awareness. The longitudinal interrelations between morphological awareness and vocabulary morphological awareness-to-vocabulary, vocabulary-to-morphological awareness, and bidirectional influences will also be discussed. These findings have implications for our understanding of the development of oral language in Chinese children.

Visual search refers to searching for target items among distractors. When the target and distractor look similar, it is difficult to find the target, and visual search tends to be inefficient. They were administered visual search, Chinese character reading and reading comprehension measures in both T1 and T2. In the visual search task, children were asked to circle targets from a 20 X 3 line matrix composed of 60 items including both the targets and distractors, as accurately and as quickly as possible.

There were 36 trials in this task, in half of which the targets and distractors were similar. These children were also administered measures of morphological awareness, phonological awareness, RAN, non-verbal IQ, and vocabulary in either T1 or T2. T1 and T2 visual search among similar stimuli were found to correlate with both Chinese character reading and reading comprehension in both T1 and T2. In multiple regression analyses, visual search uniquely predicted reading comprehension both concurrently and longitudinally, even after controlling for age, non-verbal IQ, morphological awareness, phonological awareness, RAN, and vocabulary.

However, it only showed significant prediction to Chinese character reading concurrently in T2. Chinese characters are visually more complex and are formed with principles distinctively different from many more widely-studied alphabetic languages. Following Kuo et al. Participants will include Chinese-speaking children in grades 1 through 3 in Taiwan, which use traditional Chinese characters with significantly more strokes than simplified Chinese. A novel character acquisition task will be used to investigate the process of acquiring the meaning of new characters. Results will focus on a the effect of radical presence and visual complexity in character acquisition and how the effect varies across grade levels; and b contribution of radical awareness and spatial reasoning skills to character acquisition and how the relationship varies across grade levels.

We will also analyze the data together with data reported in Kuo et al.


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Results of the study will have important theoretical and practical implications for the acquisition of Chinese characters. This study intended to explore the autonomous reading motivation by extending the research to the context of collectivistic Eastern Culture. It has been well established in the West and by cross-cultural studies that motivation is a key factor in reading success e.

In language learning, autonomy refers to promoting the learner to develop a sense of responsibility for their language acquisition. Various cross-cultural researchers state that autonomy is not valued in collectivistic Eastern cultures that emphasize the needs and goals of the group as a whole rather than the needs and wishes of individuals and, as a result, is unlikely to predict optimal study functioning and well-being in those cultures.

The participants were seventh graders from two middle schools in the Northern part of China. Measures include scales that measure autonomous reading for academic and recreational purposes; controlled reading for academic and recreational purposes; reading self-efficacy, self-regulation, Grit, and reading perseverance.

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The theoretical and practical significance of the study is discussed. Research has elucidated our understanding of how specific first languages L1 influence second language L2 word reading in readers of alphabetic scripts. However, similar mechanisms might not operate when one of the scripts being read is not an alphabetic script i.

Catherine McBride-Chang, Dan Lin, Yui-Chi Fong, and Hua Shu

One immediate proximal environment in which this development takes place from the earliest age is the home. Parents play an important role in setting the stage for children's approaches to literacy development, both in terms of the cognitive skills learned, including reading and writing themselves, and also in terms of influencing children's attitudes towards all acts of literacy. That is, parents provide a natural context through which literacy skills are or are not encountered and enjoyed e. Well before children can read, their parents often facilitate children's overall concepts about print, books, and reading e.

Scaffolding is an important aspect of these experiences. Although most studies on parent-child interactions in relation to literacy development were conducted in Western cultures, some recent studies have demonstrated the importance of parents for early Chinese literacy development as well e. These studies highlight the importance of parents' approaches to shared storybook reading and even early writing in facilitating children's development of literacy skills.

One of the clearest results of this research is the importance of parents' interaction strategies for reading with their children. The idea of dialogic reading, a way of reading with children in which the children are encouraged to interact with parents in talking about the books they are reading together, emerged from a series of studies undertaken by Grover Whitehurst and colleagues in the United States e.

We adopted this technique for Hong Kong parents by training them on ways to talk with their children about books. This approach emphasizes the importance of asking open-ended questions about stories. In this approach, questions should ideally not require one-word answers; rather, they should be questions that require children to think about the stories and explain and elaborate on answers.

The focus is not so much on correctness of answers e. Rather, this technique focuses on children's anticipation of events, opinions, and other ideas coming from the story that might generate conversation. In three separate studies in Hong Kong, new books were provided each week to participating families, during the study for the dialogic and typically reading families, but following the study for the control group.

Moreover, parents tended to enjoy the dialogic reading technique and to view it as motivating and interesting for their children; most reported adopting the p. These studies illustrate the importance of Chinese parents in encouraging their children's very early reading interest and cognitive skills.

In addition to the finding that parent-child reading is helpful in children's language development, a result that is widely noted across cultures, we have begun exploring the extent to which parent-child writing is also useful for children's literacy development. The study by Lin et al. This study of Hong Kong Chinese children was run at three grade levels—second year kindergarten K2 , third year kindergarten K3 , and first grade P1. Twenty-two two-character words were given to mothers, initially using pictures.

With these instructions, we hoped to examine some natural variability in approaches to writing across families. The twenty-two words selected were designed to be relatively common words but not ones that the children already knew how to write. The words also shared some overlap in various features, e.

Early Reading Development in Chinese-speaking Children with Hearing Loss.

Such a selection gave mothers various opportunities to make comparisons and connections across words for their children. The writing processes in all dyads were videotaped. We observed at least six strategies that mothers used with their children to try to help them to write. One basic technique was simply to ask the children to copy whatever the mothers wrote.

Some mothers would even hold the pen or pencil with the child in order to write together. A second approach taken by mothers was to dictate what strokes should be placed where, so as to create the entire character and word. A third approach was to use visualization. Another approach to writing was to segment the characters into radicals, or components. Many of the characters had semantic or phonetic radicals that could be identified independently, and mothers sometimes asked the children to recall how to write a particular radical, e.

A less common technique was to identify the phonetic radical of the word. This approach focused the children on the sound of the character and the radical within a given character that made that sound. Unlike most alphabetic languages, where speechsound information tends to be prominent in parents' focus on writing e. Finally, mothers frequently made use of morphological structure within and across words and characters.

For example, at the word level, mothers might point out that in order to write honey one can simply use the same two characters as those used in bee , but reverse the two characters e. At the character level, mothers sometimes also made observations about semantic radicals within characters based on meaning. For example, in the word for bee , one character includes a radical that means insect.

In this instance, mothers sometimes explained that that radical was important to show that a bee is one type of insect. Results showed strong developmental trends for mothers' strategy usage. Chinese mothers tended to use primarily copying and stroke order strategies in K2, decreasing their use in K3 and P1, whereas mothers tended to use more morphologically focused strategies to teach characters to the P1 children as compared to the kindergartners.

Apart from these age-related trends, however, strategy use by mother-child dyads was strongly associated with children's ability to read Chinese words independently. In particular, copying strategies were found to be negatively associated with reading skill, even statistically controlling for age and grade level. In addition, a prevalence of morphologically based strategies was found to be positively associated with reading skill, independent of age and grade level.

Although both longitudinal studies and experiments examining parent-child interactions in relation to shared writing and subsequent literacy skills will be essential before any conclusions regarding parent-child interactions and long-term literacy development can be drawn, this study demonstrates another way in which parents are potentially important for promoting Chinese children's early reading and writing skills.

Li and Rao examined this question in a correlational study of preschoolers in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They had parents across these cities complete a series of questionnaires about literacy practices, and also administered to their children a battery of reading and writing tests. They found striking differences in home literacy environments across the three cities.

For example, only about one-third of Beijing parents reported teaching their preschool children to write Chinese characters at home, whereas 52 per cent of Hong Kong parents and 48 per cent of Singapore parents did. However, most Beijing parents over 60 per cent , but fewer than 45 per cent of Hong Kong and Singapore parents, reported buying or borrowing Chinese books for their children at least monthly. They also found some correlations between parents' reported practices and children's performances.

Specifically, the age of the children when parents began teaching them to read predicted unique variance in children's performances on a task of character acquisition, even after controlling for mother's educational level and child's age. With this general background on very early Chinese reading and writing development, we turn now to more concrete details on the Chinese writing system.

As children develop, they become increasingly aware of the structures of Chinese characters, both within the characters themselves and across Chinese words e. The basic unit of writing in Chinese is the character. Across Chinese languages and societies, Chinese is famous for having many homophones per syllable, on average five per syllable in Mandarin and approximately four per syllable in Cantonese e. These homophones are often disambiguated in writing, because many homophones are represented by unique characters in text.

A study by Perfetti and Zhang of the Modern Chinese Dictionary suggested that 10 per cent of present-day used characters were simple characters. Simple characters are not further divisible into distinct components. Some of them can indicate the shapes of referents. For example, mountain indeed looks like its referent. However, many of these characters are relatively simple but not obvious pictorial representations, e. The most frequent 80 per cent of modern characters type of Chinese character is usually referred to as a compound character.

Compound characters are composed of two functionally independent compounds: The numbers of semantic and phonetic radicals in Chinese are approximately and respectively Hoosain, Semantic radicals often give some indication of meaning within the character, whereas phonetic radicals sometimes give an indication of the character's pronunciation.

However, the association between these radicals and the meanings and sounds of each haracter is far from reliable. The reliability of phonetic radicals has been explored extensively, particularly in Mandarin. Approximately 26 per cent of compound characters are described as semi-regular in relationto the phonetic. This is to say, in these characters, the phonetic radical gives partial information about the pronunciation of its character.

According to Shu et al. When children realize the extent to which phonetics may be useful in providing information p. As in the case of phonetic radicals, semantic radicals can also be categorized as transparent, semitransparent, and semantic opaque; estimated percentages of each of these categories in written Chinese for children are 58 per cent, 30 per cent, and 9 per cent respectively Shu et al.

Semantically transparent Chinese characters are those in which the semantic radical indicates the conceptual category of a character, e. Semitransparent characters are those in which the semantic radical indirectly suggests the character's meaning, e. Semantically opaque characters are ones in which the radical provides no semantic information about the character, e. All these semantic or phonetic radicals may be further divided into about sub-components e. The smallest unit of the Chinese writing system is the stroke.

These components or sub-components are combined to form hundreds and thousands of characters. The interstructure and position of components within characters are considered to be important in character recognition. Different patterns of the same strokes represent different characters, such as work , soil , soldier and up. In addition, different configurations of the same components form different characters, such as dull and apricot.

Most radicals have a fixed position within compound characters. For example, the semantic radical typically occupies the position on the left of a character. As children learn more about the writing system of Chinese, they gain in understanding of the systematic nature of Chinese character and words structures. Although many Chinese schoolchildren may not be explicitly taught about the underlying structures of Chinese characters in relation to radicals or positions of radicals within characters, they gradually learn about these structures with experience.

Moreover, they can use this knowledge to learn new characters or even pseudocharacters i. Some examples of this learning are reviewed below. What information do children extract when they read and write Chinese characters? Orthographic knowledge in Chinese refers to the knowledge of specific locations, structures, and functions of semantic and phonetic radicals in Chinese characters. Children tend to develop initial orthographic or positional knowledge at an early age and gradually acquire more specific orthographic knowledge, e.

In Shu and Anderson's study, first-, second-, fourth-, and sixth-grade Chinese children were first asked to make lexical decisions about real characters, pseudocharacters with a radical in a common position , and two types of non-characters. Results showed that even very young children exhibited solid positional knowledge, but children's awareness of the internal structure of radicals had developed relatively late. Orthographic knowledge is also important for children's character writing.

Ian analyzed children's accuracy and errors in a delayed copy task in first-, second-, and fourth-grade children. The results revealed that first graders made a large proportion of stroke-related errors related to memorization, whereas fourth graders made far fewer stroke-related errors and relatively more radical errors. Thus, with experience, older children tend to write characters based on knowledge about radical units, thereby indicating the ability to use orthographic knowledge. Studies have also demonstrated the importance of phonetics knowledge in early Chinese character identification.

Using a learning-testing task, Anderson, Li, Ku, Shu, and Wu and Shu, Bi, and Wu asked fourth-grade children with Mandarin as their home language to learn three types p. Children found it easiest to learn regular characters and most difficult to learn irregular characters; characters with phonetics with partial information were intermediate in difficulty.

However, even the semi-regular characters showed differences across categories: Children performed better on tone-different, semi-regular characters than on onset-different characters. These results suggest that children effectively make use of partial information in semi-regular characters and are sensitive to different degrees of partial information. For another important feature of Chinese characters, the semantic radical, there is no analogy in alphabetic scripts. This part of Chinese characters, indicating something about meaning, is sometimes considered a unique aspect of morphological awareness, as discussed above.

Shu and Anderson , using a radical identification task, demonstrated that children from third grade onwards performed much better for morphologically transparent characters than for opaque ones, especially in low-frequency characters, suggesting that transparent radical information is helpful for facilitating children's reading from an early age.

Indeed, Cheng and Huang found that even first graders tended to match semantically related characters together based on semantic radicals. The effectiveness of semantic radicals was also documented in character writing tasks. Meng, Shu, and Zhou examined both the effects of semantic and phonetic radicals in a writing task in fourth graders.

The results demonstrated a significant interaction between semantic transparency and phonetic regularity. Children's writing performance was better for regular characters e. Understanding of semantic radicals likely facilitates literacy skills at all levels. For example, Shu and Anderson found that good readers were more aware of the relationship between a semantic radical and the meaning of a character among Chinese children in primary school.

Moreover, Ku and Anderson also found that Chinese children's reading of passages was strongly related to children's knowledge of semantic radicals. Thus, understanding of semantic radicals may be important for reading comprehension as well as lower-level reading skills.

Although reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of educators and families, very little is known about this area relative to the other, more easily measurable areas of word reading and writing. The consensus appears to be that reading comprehension should represent a similar process in Chinese as in other languages e. As outlined by Snow , reading comprehension brings with it characteristics of the text, reading activity, and reader characteristics.

Reader characteristics presumably include all of those discussed in our section on cognitive skills and word reading, such as phonological and morphological awareness, as well as speed in reading. Other characteristics perhaps more relevant to text reading as compared to word recognition include working memory, inference-making, background knowledge, and metacognition. Of these components, studies on Chinese children have particularly found working memory and metacognition to be associated with reading comprehension in some studies e.

Chan and Law focused specifically on two aspects of metacognition, beliefs and strategies, in their study of sixth graders in Hong Kong. They found that metacognitive beliefs were relatively strongly associated with inferential comprehension, underscoring the importance of this aspect of metacognition, or thinking about thinking, for advanced reading comprehension. In addition to these aspects of the individual reading, text characteristics may also be important. It is possible that somehow characteristics of the text might affect comprehension, potentially even across languages.

For example, the vocabulary and syntax of Chinese may make reading of Chinese text relatively easy or difficult depending upon context H. In addition to these considerations, the structure of the text should fit the reader. A text that is too easy or too difficult for a given child will not be a good fit with the reader. Li and Rao point out that, compared to English-reading children, Chinese children need more years of scaffolding by parents in order to read some texts simply because the process of learning Chinese characters goes on for such a long time. Many characters may be difficult to identify even at a relatively advanced level for Chinese readers, and these characters cannot always be accessed and comprehended without a seasoned adult to explain them.

The third aspect of reading comprehension identified by Snow is the nature of the reading activity involved. For example, children will read differently for enjoyment as compared to reading for the purpose of doing well on an exam. Children may also gauge their approach to reading at a more surface level, e. Presumably, different reading activities may encourage readers to make use of different individual reader characteristics, such as working memory for more surface-level understanding or metacognitive monitoring for more in-depth analysis. Thus, development of reading comprehension, as for all other facets of literacy development, involves a combination of individual characteristics, such as working memory skill, vocabulary knowledge, and metacognitive skills, and environmental aspects, such as whether or not children have peers who enjoy reading or types of texts and contexts in which children are reading.

Although our stated focus has been literacy development in Chinese children as broadly defined, the vast majority of our coverage has been on character and word recognition, rather than on text processing. This mismatch between word-level and text-level research in children is not unique to research on the Chinese language. Indeed, reading comprehension is such an all-encompassing topic that it is difficult to begin to study it because of the numerous components involved.

However true this assessment is of research across the world's languages, it is likely that research on the development of Chinese literacy is even more skewed in this respect simply because Chinese orthography is unique but much less thoroughly studied than alphabetic reading, particularly in children. Thus, there has been a great deal to understand in this field, and there is much more to do, even at the word level.

Dynamic visual perception and reading development in Chinese school children. - PubMed - NCBI

Nevertheless, what we have learned about Chinese literacy development thus far is relatively comprehensive. We know that there are some universal aspects of this development, such as the importance of environment, particularly home environment, for early literacy development. We also know that Chinese orthography is special in a number of ways, including its different scripts, p. At a more specific level, the characteristics of Chinese characters and words in how they are structured make the challenges, including cognitive abilities important for the process of learning Chinese, unique in some ways.

Factors related to reading development in Chinese children

Understanding the roles, forms, and positions of semantic and phonetic radicals within characters is particularly striking in this regard. Overall, the study of Chinese literacy affords psychologists exciting opportunities to understand many of the most important aspects of Chinese culture, including both cognitive and social influences within and across societies. Use of partial information in learning to read Chinese characters. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 , 52— Mother-child joint writing in low SES: Socio-cultural factors, maternal mediation and emergent literacy.

Cognitive Development, 16 , — Mother-child joint writing and storybook reading: Relations with literacy among low SES kindergartners. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 48 , — The role of maternal mediation of writing to kindergartners in promoting literacy achievements in second grade: Metacognitive beliefs and strategies in reading comprehension for Chinese children. Chen eds , Reading development in Chinese children pp. Chinese reading and comprehension: A cognitive psychology perspective. Effects of pinyin and script type on verbal processing: Comparisons of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong experience.

International Journal of Behavioral Development, 14 , — The role of compound awareness in Chinese children's vocabulary acquisition and character reading. Chinese reading development in some major Chinese societies: Chen eds , Reading development in Chinese children. Gender, context, and reading: A comparison of students in 41 countries. Scientific Studies of Reading, 10 , — Promoting language and literacy through parent-child reading. Early Education and Development, 14 , — Phonological processing skills and early reading abilities in Hong Kong Chinese kindergarteners learning to read English as an L2.

Journal of Educational Psychology, 97 , 81— Dialogic reading and morphology training in Chinese children: Effects on language and literacy. Developmental Psychology, 44 , — The role of visual and auditory temporal processing for Chinese children with developmental dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 58 , 15— The patterning of complex behavior. Dyslexia differentiated from other learning disabilities. Neuropsychologia, 14 , — A basic research on structure and its component of Chinese character. The impact of a dialogic reading program on deaf and hard-of-hearing kindergarten and early primary school-aged students in Hong Kong.

Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 10 , 82— Word learning deficit among Chinese dyslexic children. Journal of Child Language, 33 , — The cognitive profile and multiple deficit hypothesis in Chinese developmental dyslexia. Developmental Psychology, 38 , — The phonological deficit hypothesis in Chinese developmental dyslexia.

An Interdisciplinary Journal, 7 , — Training in phonological strategies improves Chinese dyslexic children's character reading skills. Journal of Research in Reading, 22 , — Learning to read Chinese beyond the logographic phase. Reading Research Quarterly, 32 , — The effect of first written language on the acquisition of English literacy. Cognition, 59 , — Psycholinguistic implications for linguistic relativity: A case study of Chinese.

The role of phonological processing in early reading ability: What we can learn from Chinese. Scientific Studies of Reading, 2 , 55— Phonological awareness and visual skills in learning to read Chinese and English. Cognition, 54 , 73— A longitudinal study of phonological awareness, visual skills, and Chinese reading acquisition among first graders in Taiwan. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 20 , — Chinese children's incidental learning of word meanings.

Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26 , — Beginning reading in Chinese and English. Siegel eds , Acquisition of reading skills: Cultural constraints andcognitive universals pp. Text comprehension in Chinese children: Relative contribution of verbal working memory, pseudoword reading, rapid automatized naming, and onset-rime segmentation.

Journal of Educational Psychology, , — Early reading development and the contributions of home literacy experiences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 93 , 63— Study on the development of Chinese orthographic regularity in school children. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 32 , — Parental influences on Chinese literacy development:


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