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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Speech-print awareness in Chinese word reading development

Principal Investigator Dr Lin, Dan
Area of Research Project
Language, Literature and Linguistics
Project Period
From 06/2013 To 06/2016
  1. To identify the developmental progression of speech-print awareness at the syllable and the word levels in two different language environments of Hong Kong and Beijing.
  2. To distinguish developmental variations of speech-print awareness in children from the first, second to third year of kindergarten in Hong Kong and Beijing.
  3. To examine the role of mapping skills in Chinese word reading across three grades in kindergarten years and two language environments of Hong Kong and Beijing.
  4. To investigate developmentally the unique contribution of speech-print awareness to Chinese word reading beyond phonological awareness, visual-orthographic ability, and morphological awareness in Hong Kong and Beijing.
Methods Used
  • Participants
    • 150 K1 children in both Hong Kong and Beijing participating in 3-year longitudinal study
    • Native language speakers
    • No obvious vision, hearing or language delay problems
  • Measures
    • Word mapping skills
      • 48 items (24 2-character + 24 3-character words) orally familiar to children (Tse, 2006) Backward checking step
    • Syllable mapping skills
      • 48 three-character words, orally familiar to children
        For example, point out /naai5/ in the printed word of /hong1 naai5 hing1/ Backward checking step
    • Other measures including phonological awareness, orthographic awareness, visual-spatial relationship, morphological awareness, non-verbal reasoning, and Chinese word reading
    • Procedure
      • ll measures will be administered individually
        The whole process consists of three sessions with each lasting around 30 minutes
Summary of Findings
  • Children will perform better on word mapping awareness than on syllable mapping awareness in each grade in both Hong Kong and Beijing.
  • Speech-print awareness is expected to be higher in younger children (i.e., K1) in Hong Kong than in Beijing, but its growth is expected to be faster in Beijing than in Hong Kong.
  • The significant role of speech-print awareness in predicting Chinese word reading is expected to emerge in each grade and in each society.
  • The strength of the link between speech-print awareness and Chinese word reading are expected to be higher in children in lower grades than in higher grades, and in Hong Kong than in Beijing.
  • Theoretically, by adding the mapping constituent to the current reading framework, the study could significantly advance theory in the reading area.
  • Practically, the study may generate a significant early indicator of Chinese reading difficulties or developmental dyslexia. The results may bring important practical contributions to curriculum design, development of teaching materials, and pedagogy in early childhood education.
  • Lin, D. & Shiu, L-P. (under review). Speech-print mapping awareness promotes Chinese reading development.
  • Lin, D. & Shiu, L-P. (in preparation). Morphological awareness in predicting Chinese reading development: the mediation effect of speech-print mapping awareness.
  • Lin, D., Shiu, L-P., & Xiang, J. (in preparation). Speech-print mapping awareness in reading: The comparison between Hong Kong and Beijing.
Biography of Principal Investigator
LIN Dan joined the Hong Kong Institute of Education as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Studies in 2010. Her research interests lie in the areas of social and cognitive development. Her current research focuses on literacy development, and exogenous parent-child interactions and endogenous cognitive skills in shaping this progress.
Funding Source

Early Career Scheme