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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The influence of Chinese character recognition skills on English reading and spelling development Garforth, Kathryn Charlotte


The present study examined literacy skills in 78 participants who had English as a second language (ESL) in grades 2-4, who had been attending school in English since kindergarten and had a Chinese language as their first language. These participants were tested on word reading, pseudoword reading, spelling, pseudoword spelling, and phonological awareness in English as well as word reading in Chinese. This study found that participants who had ESL were able to become proficient at reading and spelling in English. The participants’ Chinese character identification ability was correlated with their phonological awareness and the spelling of English and pseudowords. However, when including both phonological awareness and Chinese reading ability in the regression equations, Chinese character identification ability was only a significant predictor of pseudoword spelling ability. These results show the importance of understanding the literacy skills of an individual who has ESL in their first language as well as the language in which they are being instructed.

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