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Title:Biliteracy effects on phonological awareness, oral language proficiency and reading skills in Taiwanese Mandarin-English bilingual children
Author(s):Yang, Fang-Ying
Director of Research:Johnson, Cynthia J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Johnson, Cynthia J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Christianson, Kiel; DeThorne, Laura S.; Stine-Morrow, Elizabeth A.L.
Department / Program:Speech & Hearing Science
Discipline:Speech & Hearing Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mandarin-English bilinguals
Reading acquisition
Phonological awareness
Oral language proficiency
Abstract:The present study examined the effect of learning to read a heritage language on Taiwanese Mandarin-English bilingual children’s Chinese and English phonological awareness, Chinese and English oral language proficiency, and English reading skills. Participants were 40 Taiwanese Mandarin-English bilingual children and 20 English monolingual children in the U.S. Based on their performance on a Chinese character reading test, the bilingual participants were divided into two groups: the Chinese Beginning Reader and Chinese Nonreader groups. A single child categorized as a Chinese Advanced Reader also participated. Children received phonological awareness tasks, produced oral narrative samples from a wordless picture book, and took standardized English reading subtests. The bilingual participants received measures in both English and Chinese, whereas English monolingual children received only English measures. Additional demographic information was collected from a language background survey filled out by parents. Results of two MANOVAs indicated that the Chinese Beginning Reader group outperformed the Chinese Nonreader and English Monolingual groups on some phonological awareness measures and the English nonword reading test. In an oral narrative production task in English, the English Monolingual group produced a greater total number of words (TNW) and more different words (NDW) than the Chinese Nonreader group. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine whether bilingual children’s Chinese character reading ability would still account for a unique amount of variance in certain outcome variables, independent of nonverbal IQ and other potential demographic or performance variables and to clarify the direction of causality for bilingual children’s performance in the three domains. These results suggested that learning to read in a heritage language directly or indirectly enhances bilingual children’s ability in phonological awareness and certain English reading skills. It also appears that greater oral language proficiency in Chinese promotes early reading in the heritage language. Advanced heritage reading may produce even larger gains. Practical implications of learning a heritage language in the U.S. are discussed.
Issue Date:2010-01-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2009 Fang-Ying Yang
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-01-06
Date Deposited:December 2

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