Contributions of Phonology, Orthography, and Morphology in Chinese-English Biliteracy Acquisition: A One-Year Longitudinal Study

  • Min WangEmail author
  • Candise Y. Lin
  • Chen Yang
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 8)


This short-term longitudinal study followed 50 Chinese-English bilingual children from Grade 1 to Grade 2 to investigate the contribution of phonology, orthography, and morphology to biliteracy acquisition across time and across languages. Cross-language cross-time transfer was evident that Chinese onset awareness in Grade 1 predicted English real word reading in Grade 2. Within language across time, Chinese rime awareness at Grade 1 was a significant predictor of Chinese character reading in Grade 2. English phonemic awareness in Grade 1 accounted for unique variance in English real and pseudoword reading in Grade 2. These results highlight the importance of phonological awareness in long term reading development in bilingual children.


Biliteracy development Phonology Orthography Morphology Chinese reading English reading Cross-time cross-language transfer 


  1. Andrews, S., Miller, B., & Rayner, K. (2004). Eye movements and morphological segmentation of compound words: There is a mouse in mousetrap. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 16, 285–311.Google Scholar
  2. Carlisle, J. (1995). Morphological awareness and early reading achievement. In L. B. Feldman (Ed.), Morphological aspects of language processing (pp. 189–209). Hillsdale, NJ: LEA, Inc.Google Scholar
  3. Cheung, H., Chung, K. K. H., Wong, S. W. L., McBride-Chang, C., Penney, T. B., & Ho, C. S.-H. (2010). Speech perception, metalinguistic awareness, reading and vocabulary in Chinese-English bilingual children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102, 367–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cho, J.-R., & McBride-Chang, C. (2005). Levels of phonological awareness in Korean and English: A 1-year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(4), 564–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chow, B. W.-Y., McBride-Chang, C., & Burgess, S. (2005). Phonological processing skills and early reading abilities in Hong Kong Chinese Kindergarteners learning to read English as a second language. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 81–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Deacon, S. H., Wade-Woolley, L., & Kirby, J. (2007). Crossover: The role of morphological awareness in French immersion children’s reading. Developmental Psychology, 43, 732–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deacon, S. H., Wade-Woolley, L., & Kirby, J. (2009). Flexibility in young second-language learners: Examining the language specificity of orthographic processing. Journal of Research in Reading, 32, 215–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dressler, W. U. (2006). Compound types. In G. Libben & G. Jarema (Eds.), The representation and processing of compound words (pp. 23–44). Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Dunn, L., & Dunn, L. (1997). Peabody picture vocabulary test – III. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  10. Goswami, U., & Bryant, P. (1990). Phonological skills and learning to read. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gottardo, A., Siegel, L. S., Yan, B., & Wade-Woolley, L. (2001). Factors related to English reading performance in children with Chinese as first language: More evidence of cross- language transfer of phonological processing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 530–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ho, C. S.-H., & Bryant, P. (1997). Phonological skills are important in learning to read Chinese. Developmental Psychology, 33, 946–951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Huang, H. S., & Hanley, J. R. (1997). A longitudinal study of phonological awareness, visual skills, and Chinese reading acquisition among first-graders in Taiwan. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 20, 249–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hulme, C., Hatcher, P. J., Nation, K., Brown, A., Adams, J., & Stuart, G. (2002). Phoneme awareness is a better predictor of early reading skill than onset-rime awareness. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 82, 2–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jared, D., Cormier, P., Levy, B. A., & Wade-Woolley, L. (2010). Early predictors of biliteracy development in children in French Immersion: A 4-year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 119–139.Google Scholar
  16. Jastak, J. R., & Jastak, S. R. (1984). Wide range achievement test – revised. Wilminton, DE: Guidance Associates.Google Scholar
  17. Kim, Y.-S. (2009). Crosslinguistic influence on phonological awareness for Korean-English bilingual children. Reading and Writing, 22, 843–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ku, Y.-M., & Anderson, R. C. (2003). Development of morphological awareness in Chinese and English. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 16, 399–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lindsey, K. A., Manis, F. R., & Bailey, C. E. (2003). Prediction of first-grade reading in Spanish-speaking English-language learners. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 482–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Manis, F. R., Lindsey, K. A., & Bailey, C. E. (2004). Development of reading in grades K-2 in Spanish-speaking English-language learners. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 19, 214–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McBride-Chang, C., & Ho, C. S.-H. (2005). Predictors of beginning reading in Chinese and English: A 2-year longitudinal study of Chinese kindergarteners. Scientific Study of Reading, 9, 117–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McBride-Chang, C., Tardif, T., Cho, J.-R., Shu, H., Fletcher, P., Stokes, S. F., et al. (2008). What’s in a word? Morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge in three languages. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29, 437–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McBride-Chang, C., Tong, X., Shu, H., Wong, A. M.-Y., Leung, K.-W., & Tardif, T. (2008). Syllable, phoneme, and tone: Psycholinguistic units in early Chinese and English word recognition. Scientific Studies of Reading, 12, 171–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Muter, V., Hulme, C., Snowling, M. J., & Stevenson, J. (2004). Phonemes, rimes, vocabulary, and grammatical skills as foundations of early reading development: Evidence from a longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 40(5), 665–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Perfetti, C. A. (2003). The universal grammar of reading. Scientific Studies of Reading, 7, 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Plaut, D. C., McClelland, J. L., Seidenberg, M. S., & Patterson, K. (1996). Understanding normal and impaired word reading: Computational principles in quasi-regular domains. Psychological Review, 103, 56–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ramirez, G., Chen, X., Geva, E., & Kiefer, H. (2010). Morphological awareness in Spanish-speaking English language learners: Within and cross-language effects on word learning. Reading and Writing, 23, 337–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Saiegh-Haddad, E., & Geva, E. (2008). Morphological awareness, phonological awareness, and reading in English-Arabic bilingual children. Reading and Writing, 21, 481–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Seidenberg, M. S., & McClelland, J. L. (1989). A distributed, developmental model of word recognition and naming. Psychological Review, 96, 523–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sun-Alperin, M. K., & Wang, M. (2008). Spanish-speaking children’s spelling errors with English vowel sounds that are represented by different graphemes in English and Spanish words. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33, 932–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sun-Alperin, M. K., & Wang, M. (2010). Cross-language transfer of phonological and orthographic processing skills from Spanish L1 to English L2. Reading and Writing. doi: 10.1007/s11145-009-9221-7.Google Scholar
  32. Tong, X., & McBride-Chang, C. (2010). Chinese-English biscriptal reading: Cognitive component skills across orthographies. Reading and Writing, 23, 293–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Treiman, R., & Cassar, M. (1997). Spelling acquisition in English. In C. A. Perfetti, L. Rieben, & M. Fayol (Eds.), Learning to spell: Research, theory, and practices across languages (pp. 61–80). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  34. Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J. K., Rashotte, C. A., Hecht, S. A., Barker, T. A., Burgess, S. R., et al. (1997). Changing relations between phonological processing abilities and word-level reading as children develop from beginning to skilled readers: A 5-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 33(3), 468–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wang, M., Cheng, C., & Chen, S.-W. (2006). Contribution of morphological awareness to Chinese-English bilinteracy acquisition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 542–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang, M., Ko, I. Y., & Choi, J. (2009). The importance of morphological awareness in Korean-English biliteracy acquisition. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34, 132–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wang, M., Park, Y. J., & Lee, K. R. (2006). Korean-English bilitearcy acquisition: Cross- language phonological and orthographic transfer. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 148–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang, M., Perfetti, C. A., & Liu, Y. (2005). Chinese-English biliteracy acquisition: Cross- language and writing system transfer. Cognition, 97, 67–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang, M., Yang, C., & Cheng, C. (2009). The contribution of phonology, orthography, and morphology in Chinese-English biliteracy acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 30, 291–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Woodcock, R. C. (1987). Woodcock reading mastery test. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  41. Zhang, J., Anderson, R. C., Li, H., Dong, Q., Wu, X., & Zhang, Y. (2010). Cross-language transfer of insight into the structure of compound words. Reading and Writing, 23, 311–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: A psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Quantitative MethodologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations