Digital technology use and early reading abilities among bilingual children in Singapore

Grace Haoning MAH, Xiangqing HU, Weipeng YANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Singapore has launched a bilingual education policy nationwide, which leads to three main home language environments amongst Chinese families, namely, Chinese dominant, Chinese-English bilingual families and English dominant families. However, little is known about the development of early reading abilities among Singapore children from these family backgrounds. Moreover, against the backdrop of technological advances in the digital age, how the use of digital technology may affect the development of early reading abilities remains understudied. In this study, 225 7-year-old Chinese Singaporean children with different home language environments were recruited from mainstream primary schools in Singapore to complete the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study reading comprehension tests and questionnaires. Evidence revealed that children’s reading ability and digital technology use in Chinese varied across home language environments. Also, the use of digital technology in both English and Chinese positively predicted the reading abilities in both languages respectively for children from English dominant families. The results provide interesting insights into the role of bilingualism and digital technology use in the development of early reading abilities. In view of the results, we also discuss and put forward suggestions on online reading education policy. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-258
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Volume19
Issue number2
Early online date17 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2021

Citation

Mah, G. H., Hu, X., & Yang, W. (2021). Digital technology use and early reading abilities among bilingual children in Singapore. Policy Futures in Education, 19(2), 242-258. doi: 10.1177/1478210320980575

Keywords

  • Bilingualism
  • Digital technology use
  • Early reading ability
  • Home language environment
  • Chinese and English

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