Purpose: Skills developed from literacy training in L1 are shown to transfer to reading in L2 when both languages involve an alphabetic writing system. However, transfer of literacy skills between a logographic L1 and an alphabetic L2 is less studied. This study examined whether the gain in literacy skills after an 8-week training on 1) Chinese character recognition or 2) English phonics, may generalize across the two languages in Chinese elementary students with reading disabilities.
Methods: Chinese-speaking students identified with reading difficulties were randomly assigned to the Chinese intervention (Chinese character orthography trainings), English intervention (English phonics training), and control groups. Their Chinese and English literacy skills were measured before and after the interventions.
Results: Though training on the orthography of Chinese characters significantly improved performance in Chinese word reading and Chinese orthographic awareness, our results did not provide evidence for the generalization of word-decoding skills from L1 Chinese to word reading in L2 English. However, phonics training in L2 English benefitted not only English word reading, but also cross-language word reading in L1 Chinese.
Conclusion: We postulated that teaching children analytical skills in decoding words in an alphabetic writing system might likewise benefit their word decoding in a logographic script. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationYeung, K. K.-Y., Chan, R. T.-C., Chan, H.-Y., Shum, K. K.-M., & Tso, R. V.-Y. (2023). Word reading transfer in two distinct languages in reading interventions: How Chinese-English bilingual children with reading difficulties learn to read. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 137. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2023.104501
- Chinese literacy
- English phonics
- Orthographical awareness
- Phonological awareness
- Chinese-English bilingual