Growth of phonemic awareness and spelling in a second language

Siu Sze YEUNG, Yingyi LIU

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract

To dates, limited research has been devoted to exclusively examine cognitive-linguistic skills that underpin spelling in a second language (L2). In this study, we focused on the role of phonemic awareness in early spelling skills given a bulk of research studies showing the importance of phonemic awareness in spelling development in L2. Very few studies have examined the contribution of the growth in phonemic awareness in L2 spelling. There are two aims in this study. First, the developmental trajectory of phonemic awareness among Chinese ESL children would be examined. Second, we would test whether initial level of phonemic awareness and growth in phonemic awareness in age 5 predict spelling skill at age 6 among Chinese ESL children when other important component skills and English word reading are statistically controlled. One hundred and forty-one children (72 boys) who were recruited from 6 kindergarteners in Hong Kong participated in the present study. Phonemic awareness (phoneme identification task) was assessed 4 times with each time point separately by a 3-month period in one year. At Time 1, oral language, letter knowledge and word reading were assessed. At Time 4, a researcher-developed spelling task was administered. We modelled growth of phonemic awareness from T1 to T4. The growth and intercept of phonemic awareness was used to predict spelling at T4 with oral language skills, letter knowledge and word reading at T1 statistically controlled. Results indicated that both the initial level and growth rate of phonemic awareness significantly predicted L2 spelling. Among the covariates, English word reading was the only significant predictor . No other significant effects were found. In total, 64.7% of the variance in spelling was explained by the model. The findings further point to the central role of phonemic awareness in L2 spelling among second language learners. Both theoretical and practical implications will be discussed. Copyright © 2017 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR). All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

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Hong Kong
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Bibliographical note

Yeung, S. S., & Liu, Y. (2017, July). Growth of phonemic awareness and spelling in a second language. Poster presented at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Halifax Marriott Harbourfront, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Keywords

  • Spelling
  • Phoneme awareness
  • Growth modeling
  • Second language