Effects of explicit English vocabulary instruction on developing Chinese ESL kindergarten children’s L2 vocabulary and phonological awareness

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Vocabulary learning is a lengthy process. Research on vocabulary intervention for very young Chinese children who learn English-as-a-second-language is limited. Lexical restructuring hypothesis specifies that, as children’s vocabularies expand and spoken words become more similar phonetically (e.g. minimal pairs such as lot and pot), words become more segmentally represented. This contributes to the development of phonological awareness. Therefore, growth in vocabulary would drive the development of phonological awareness in young learners. The present study examined the effects of short-term explicit vocabulary instruction compared with implicit instruction on Chinese kindergartners' gains in not only the target vocabulary items, but also general vocabulary as well as phonological awareness. One-hundred and fifty-seven children from five kindergartens in Hong Kong participated. The five schools were randomly assigned to either the explicit vocabulary instruction (3 schools) or implicit vocabulary instruction (2 schools). Statistically significant differences were found in all vocabulary tasks and the phonemic awareness task with small to large effect sizes. These showed that, in addition to the target vocabulary, the participants receiving explicit vocabulary instruction also had greater gains in receptive and expressive general vocabulary and phonemic awareness. The present findings show that explicit vocabulary instruction supports the development of phonological awareness in Chinese ESL learners, as suggested by lexical restructuring hypothesis. Copyright © 2018 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Citation

Yeung, S. S. (2018, July). Effects of explicit English vocabulary instruction on developing Chinese ESL kindergarten children’s L2 vocabulary and phonological awareness. Paper presented at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR), Hilton Brighton Metropole, Brighton, UK.

Keywords

  • Cognitive skills
  • Preschool
  • Reading comprehension

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