The role of syntactic awareness in Chinese-English bilingual children is reading comprehension: The mediation effect of working memory

Xiuhong TONG, Xiuli TONG, Hélène DEACON

Research output: Other contributionOther contributions

Abstract

Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of all models of reading development; reading comprehension is also a complex cognitive skill, which involves multiple linguistic and non-linguistic factors. Syntactic awareness (the awareness of sentence structure) is central to reading comprehension. However, we have little understanding of how children’s awareness of sentence structures supports their reading comprehension, especially for Chinese-English bilingual children who learn the typologically distinctive languages of Chinese and English in parallel. This study examined the mediating effect of working memory on the relationship between syntactic awareness and reading comprehension in Hong Kong Chinese-English bilingual children. A total of 227 Grade 4 Hong Kong Chinese-English bilingual were tested on parallel tasks of syntactic awareness, vocabulary, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, word reading and reading comprehension in Chinese and English, as well as working memory and nonverbal IQ. Results showed that working memory mediated the relationship between L1 Chinese syntactic awareness and L2 English reading comprehension. Similarly, there was a significant mediating effect of working memory on the relationship between L2 English syntactic awareness and L1 Chinese reading comprehension. These findings highlight the importance of working memory on the relationship between syntactic awareness and reading comprehension in Chinese-English bilingual children. Copyright © 2020 ARWA.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Citation

Tong, X., Tong, X., & Deacon, H. (2020, September). The role of syntactic awareness in Chinese-English bilingual children is reading comprehension: The mediation effect of working memory [Zoom]. Poster presented at the 4th Annual Conference for the Association for Reading and Writing in Asia (ARWA 2020), Beijing, China.

Keywords

  • Chinese-English bilingual children
  • Syntactic awareness
  • Reading comprehension

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