Research Projects

  • Effects of Pinyin Learning on the Development of Phonological Awareness and English Reading
  • CHEUNG Him
    15 November 2004
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    The proposed research aims at discovering the relationship between Mandarin Pinyin learning and reading in English among Hong Kong children. I hypothesise that learning Pinyin to transcribe Mandarin speech on top of traditional logographic Chinese writing enhances phonological awareness, which transfers to English and subsequently facilitates English reading. The mechanisms involved are two. First, learning a transparent writing system (e.g., Pinyin), in which letters are consistently and regularly related to sounds, facilitates phonological awareness more than learning an opaque system (e.g., English), in which the relation between letters and sounds is less consistent. Hence, learning Pinyin in addition to written English benefits the development of phonological awareness. Second, phonological awareness in one language transfers to another. Hence, the relatively high level of phonological awareness attained through Pinyin learning transfers to and subsequently facilitates reading in English. The proposed research is important because it represents a novel attempt to examine transfer of phonological awareness across two non-native languages (i.e., Mandarin and English in Hong Kong children). Previous studies investigating transfer have used first and second languages; the unique effects of a native language are therefore confounded into the general effects of transfer. Furthermore, the anticipated outcome bears on whether the teaching and learning of Pinyin constitutes an educationally sound approach to Mandarin learning. (SS04912)

  • Parent-Child Reading in the Hong Kong Bilingual Context
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra, CHEUNG Him CHOW Wing Yin (Educational Psychology)
    1 August 2004
    Quality Education Fund, HKSAR Government

    We seek to improve both Chinese and English language and preliteracy skills, as well as interest in speaking English through a method of parent-child reading called dialogical reading in kindergartners. This dialogical reading program has worked well in previous research studies (mostly from the U.S.) in promoting early language and pre-literacy skills in children learning to read in their first language. This study will involve approximately 210 students and their parents in three kindergartens in Hong Kong. In order to evaluate this program using a rigorous research design, we seek to accomplish the following:

    1) Adapt current children’s books.
    2) Pretest children on early language and early literacy skills in both English and Chinese and randomly assign them to groups. These groups will be the same, separately in both Chinese and English, except a dialogical reading with additional linguistic training group will be included for the Chinese part, for a total of seven groups.
    3) Train selected parents.
    4) Facilitate a 12-week dialogical reading intervention.
    5) Post-test all children on language and early literacy skills in both Chinese and English.
    6) Analyze the data and draw conclusions.
    7) Create a dialogical reading manual to be made available to all parents and teachers on kindergartens to promote dialogical reading skills in both Chinese and English.

    If this technique is successful, it will be useful for pre-primary school educators in Hong Kong and perhaps in other areas of the world seeking to promote Chinese, and English as a second language as well. (SS04582)

Research Publications

  • "The Hong Kong Reading and Writing Behavior Checklist for Adults." (co-authored with HO C. S. H.; LEUNG K. N. K.; LEUNG M. T. and CHOU C. H. N.) The University of Hong Kong. 2006.

  • 《香港學前兒童母語的硏究》與其他學者合著,香港:語文敎育及硏究常務委員會,1995
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC Gov Document P118 .X53 1995)

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