How Do Word Reading and Word Spelling Develop Over Time? A Three-Year Longitudinal Study of Hong Kong Chinese–English Bilingual Children

Yijun RUAN, Yanyan YE, Kelvin Fai Hong LUI, Catherine MCBRIDE*, Connie Suk Han HO

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Word reading and word spelling are important processes of literacy acquisition for children. The longitudinal relationship between reading and spelling is still unclear, especially among bilinguals and biscriptals. In the present study, we compared the longitudinal word reading–spelling relationship in L1 (Chinese) and L2 (English), together with early cognitive-linguistic skills. Participants were 182 pairs of Chinese–English bilingual twins who were tested annually across 3 years on word reading and word spelling in both scripts. Chinese and English cognitive and linguistic skills were measured in the first year only (mean age = 7.38). Cross-lagged panel models were applied to analyze the longitudinal word reading–spelling relations. Predictors of word reading and word spelling differed between Chinese and English. Longitudinally, there were no bidirectional or unidirectional relationships between word reading and spelling in Chinese. In contrast, a reciprocal relationship between word reading and spelling was revealed in English. This study underscores similarities and differences in the development of literacy skills among biscriptal readers of L1 Chinese and L2 English.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalReading Research Quarterly
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by Collaborative Research Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Research Grants Council (CUHK8/CRF/13G, C4054-17WF) to Catherine McBride. We have no conflicts of interest to disclose. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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