UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Bilingual Home Literacy Experiences and Early Biliteracy Development among Chinese–Canadian First Graders Li, Guofang, 1972-; Zhen, Fubiao; Lin, Zhen; Gunderson, Lee, 1942-


This study was designed to examine the role of early bilingual home literacy experiences (HLE) (including parent–child shared reading, parents’ direct teaching in Chinese and English, the availability of books in both languages, and children’s access to digital devices for bilingual learning) in the biliteracy development of 66 Chinese–Canadian first graders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive analyses reveal that overall, parents report higher engagement in English than in Chinese across the four HLE measures. Parent’s engagement in bilingual HLE differs by gender, SES, and immigration status. Pearson correlational analyses of English reading, decoding, and bilingual oral receptive vocabulary reveal that the four dimensions of HLE are not strongly related to English early literacy skills but are positively related to Chinese receptive vocabulary. Finally, hierarchical regression analyses indicate that the availability of books in Chinese and parent–child shared reading in Chinese are key factors associated with Chinese receptive vocabulary score variance; the amount of time using digital devices is found to be significantly related to English reading comprehension, but not Chinese vocabulary; and parents’ direct teaching is not significant with either English early literacy skills or Chinese receptive vocabulary. These findings have important implications for parental engagement in early bilingual home literacy activities and early literacy instruction in school.

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