Phonological awareness has been repeatedly reported as important for learning to read in different orthographies. It is important to understand what specific levels of phonological awareness are involved in Chinese and English for Chinese children who learn English-as-a-second-language (ESL). Measures of phonological awareness, word reading, letter name knowledge, receptive vocabulary, and non-verbal intelligence were administered to 94 Hong Kong Chinese ESL kindergarteners. In terms of within-language associations, phoneme awareness but not syllable and rhyme awareness explained unique additional variance in English word reading. Tone awareness but not rhyme awareness uniquely explained Chinese word reading. Regarding cross-language associations, L2 syllable awareness but not L2 phoneme and rhyme awareness had significant unique contribution to Chinese reading and L1 tone awareness had significant unique contribution to English reading. Phonological awareness at different grain sizes is involved in Chinese and English reading among young ESL children. The current findings support the psycholinguistic grain size theory that language-specific phonological awareness skills are involved in reading acquisition of different orthographies. The demonstrated bi-directional cross-language transfers of phonological awareness at specific linguistic levels partially support the idea that general phonological sensitivity is necessary for beginning reading acquisition. Copyright © 2013 De La Salle University.
CitationYeung, S. S., & Ganotice, F. A. (2014). The role of phonological awareness in biliteracy acquisition among Hong Kong Chinese kindergarteners who learn English-as-a-second language (ESL). The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 23(3), 333-343.
- Chinese reading
- English reading
- Phonological awareness