First Language Reading Ability Of English Immersion Children: A Comparative Case Study
This study compared the Chinese (L1) reading competence of children in two types of primary school programs (Chinese-English bilingual and regular Chinese) in Taiwan, in an attempt to find out the possible impact of learning to read in two languages on the bilingual children’s L1 reading ability. A total of 24 children (Grade one to Grade three) in four primary schools participated in this research. Unlike examination of one discrete reading ability in most of the previous research, this study employed Reading Miscue analysis on children’s oral reading/retellings, to gain insights into the children’s holistic L1 reading abilities. Through Reading Miscue analysis, the children’s cognitive aspects of reading ability (i.e, phonographic, syntactic, semantic, reading comprehension and making implications) and affective aspects of reading (i.e., reading confidence and reading engagement) were revealed. The results indicated that the bilingual first graders lagged behind their peers in the regular Chinese programs in their overall Chinese reading proficiency and linguistic knowledge. However, the bilingual second graders and the third graders outperformed their counterparts in the regular Chinese programs in reading confidence, reading fluency, linguistic knowledge and reading comprehension. The implications of the findings on the implementation of bilingual programs were discussed.
Index Terms - Bilingual Education, Children’s Biliteracy Development, Chinese Children’s Reading Development, English Immersion Programs, First Language Reading Ability