Self-teaching across writing systems: A meta-analysis

Yixun LI, Min WANG, Daniel ESPINAS, Peng PENG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Previous research shows that children can teach themselves new written words via independent text reading, a process that Share (1995) termed self-teaching. The central mechanism of self-teaching is known as phonological recoding — the process that supports learners to translate written words into the sounds that make up the words —which has received plenty of support from empirical studies in first language (L1) learning across writing systems in the past decades. Importantly, learning to read in a second language (L2) is fundamentally different from that in an L1, and it is thought that learners’ L1 background has an impact on their L2 learning. Despite several qualitative reviews of self-teaching research, no work has employed a quantitative meta-analysis that can yield critical findings of self-teaching across writing systems and that between L1 and L2. The current work aims to fill this gap. This is an ongoing project, and data analysis will be completed by the end of 2020. A random-effects meta-analysis and a series of meta-regression will then be carried out, with phonological recoding and L1 backgrounds being the critical factors of interest. It is hypothesized that the role of phonological recoding may vary across transparent orthography (e.g., Hebrew and Spanish) and opaque orthography (e.g., English and Chinese) in L1 self-teaching, but specific predictions could not be made on L2 self-teaching due to the lack of previous work. Findings will elucidate self-teaching across writing systems, and thus will inspire future research by offering informative foundations and clear implications for future directions. Copyright © 2021 BCCCD.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
EventThe 11st Annual Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 04 Jan 202108 Jan 2021


ConferenceThe 11st Annual Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development
Abbreviated titleBCCCD 2021
Internet address


Li, Y., Wang, M., Espinas, D., & Peng, P. (2021, January). Self-teaching across writing systems: A meta-analysis. Paper presented at The 11st Annual Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development (BCCCD21), Budapest, Hungary.


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