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Learning to Read and Spell in English Among Chinese English-As-A-Second-Language Learners in Hong Kong



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Learning to Read and Spell in English Among Chinese English-As-A-Second-Language Learners in Hong Kong by Pui-Sze Yeung
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This dissertation, "Learning to Read and Spell in English Among Chinese English-as-a-second-language Learners in Hong Kong" by Pui-sze, Yeung, 楊佩詩, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Abstract of thesis entitled 'Learning to read and spell in English among Chinese English-as-a-second-language learners in Hong Kong' submitted by Yeung Pui Sze for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong in March 2006 The present study attempted to address the paucity of developmental data on English reading and spelling development among Chinese English-as-a-second-language (ESL) learners. English reading and spelling development among Chinese ESL learners in Hong Kong was examined in a one-year longitudinal study covering three developmental periods: Kindergarten to Grade 1, Grade 2 to Grade 3, and Grade 4 to Grade 5. One hundred and fifty five participants were tested on three types of cognitive-linguistic measures (rapid naming, phonological processing, and visual-orthographic processing) and language proficiency measures (English reading, English spelling and Chinese reading). Three major patterns of results were identified. First, the relationships between cognitive-linguistic skills and English proficiency measures differed among Chinese ESL learners of different proficiency levels. Previous research examining the significance of visual-orthographic and phonological skills to English reading and spelling development among Hong Kong Chinese ESL learners has yielded inconsistent results. On one hand, findings in some studies among kindergarteners and Grade 1 students demonstrated the predominant role of phonological skills to English reading and spelling development (Chow, McBride-Chang, & Burgess, 2005; McBride-Chang & Ho, 2005; McBride-Chang & Kail, 2002). On the other hand, the study by Leong, Tan, Cheng and Hau (2005) among Grade 4 - 6 students showed that visual-orthographic skills were of greater significance than phonological skills in predicting English proficiency. Since the participants in these studies were from different age groups, differences in results may simply reflect differences in age or 'stages' of reading and spelling development among the participants. Findings in the 2present study did confirm this speculation: phonological skills were of particular importance to English reading and spelling development among younger participants while the significance of visual-orthographic skills only emerged among older participants. Second, only rapid naming, but not phonological awareness, contributed to English reading and spelling development among young learners (Kindergarteners, Grade 2 and Grade 3 participants). This distinctive pattern departed from the findings among native English speaking children where both rapid naming and phonological awareness were of great significance. This finding further highlighted the importance of rapid naming in reading development in contrast to that of phonological awareness. Third, visual-orthographic skills were found to play a more important role in English spelling than in English reading among the more advanced Chinese ESL learners in the present study. This contradicted Frith's (1985) argument that "orthographic reading is the pacemaker for the development of orthographic spelling" but was actually compatible with the characteristics of the English orthography. The theoretical and pedagogical implications of these findings are discussed. DOI: 10.5353/th_b3572678 Subj
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
Created by
Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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