Reading Development in Chinese Children

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Catherine McBride-Chang, Hsuan-Chih Chen
ABC-CLIO, Dec 30, 2003 - Education - 248 pages
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This text reviews both similarities and unique cultural, linguistic, and script differences of Chinese relative to alphabetic reading, and even across Chinese regions. Chinese reading acquisition relies upon children's strongly developing analytic skills, as highlighted here. These 16 chapters present state-of-the-art research on diverse aspects of Chinese children's reading development.

This edited volume presents research on Chinese children's reading development across Chinese societies. Authors from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, among others, present the latest findings on how Chinese children learn to read. Reading acquisition in Chinese involves some parameters typically not encountered in some other orthographies, such as English. For example, Chinese readers in different regions might speak different, mutually unintelligible languages, be taught to read with or without the aid of a phonetic coding system, and learn different scripts. This book both implicitly and explicitly considers these and other contextual issues in relation to developmental and cognitive factors involved in Chinese literacy acquisition.

One of the clearest themes to emerge from this volume is that, across regions, Chinese children, despite lack of explicit teaching of phonetic or semantic character components, learn to read largely by integrating visible print-sound and print-meaning connections. Rather than learning to read Chinese characters by rote, as is sometimes mistakenly believed, these children are analytic learners. Chapters in this book also cover such topics as Chinese children's reading comprehension, cognitive characteristics of good and poor readers, and reading strategies of bilingual and biscriptal readers. This book is a useful reference for anyone interested in understanding either developing or skilled reading of Chinese or for those interested in literacy learning across cultures.


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CATHERINE MCBRIDE-CHANG is Associate Professor of Psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

HSUAN-CHIH CHEN is Professor of Psychology (Chair Professor) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he is also a former Head of the Psychology Department and the founding Director of the Centre for Cognition and Brain Studies.

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