A case study on the use of phonics instruction, implicit and explicit, to help low proficiency ESL learners at primary level to develop proficiency and enjoyment in English reading

Jiayu DING

Research output: Other contributionHonours Project


Meta---analysis has indicated that explicit phonics instruction enhances children’s reading proficiency significantly more effective than implicit phonics instruction. Studies in Hong Kong have demonstrated the Contribution of phonics teaching in improving ESL learners reading abilities. However, it remain unclear that what kind of phonics instruction, explicit or implicit, is more effective in developing Hong Kong ESL learners reading proficiency and enjoyment. Therefore, this study aimed to fill the mentioned research gap by firstly focusing on finding out the differences and difficulties appeared when explicit phonics instruction was conducted in Hong Kong ESL context. Then, the effectiveness of supplementary implicit phonics instruction in developing low proficiency Hong Kong ESL learners’ reading proficiency and enjoyment was investigated. This research is a case study carried out in a local primary school in Hong Kong, inclusing 60 student participants and 5 teachers. A mix of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies is employed in this project. The data showed the differences in language background and school systems between ESL and ENL contexts should be taken into consideration when phonics approach for reading is used in Hong Kong ESL context. Also, the data indicated additional implicit phonics instruction is highly effective in developing low proficiency ESl learners’ reading ability. The effectiveness in developing enjoyment is not that outstanding, but still can be considered as effective. The study indicated implicit phonics instruction is helpful in providing phonics teaching in real reading experience and it therefore has a significant impact especially on low proficiency ESL learners who lacks exposure to English and chances to read in English.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Course code: ENG4900
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) (Four-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A4B036