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ERIC Number: EJ934417
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 105
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Cognitive-Linguistic Foundations of Early Spelling Development in Bilinguals
Yeong, Stephanie H. M.; Rickard Liow, Susan J.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v103 n2 p470-488 May 2011
Developing spelling skills in English is a particularly demanding task for Chinese speakers because, unlike many other bilinguals learning English as a second language, they must learn two languages with different orthography as well as phonology. To disentangle socioeconomic and pedagogical factors from the underlying cognitive-linguistic processes that predict the development of spelling, we used a 6-month longitudinal design and compared children with English as their first language (English-L1; n = 50) and children with Mandarin as their first language (Mandarin-L1; n = 50) from the same kindergarten. Both groups were tested on parallel versions of English and Mandarin tasks as predictors at Time 1, and their spelling sophistication scores were then computed from a 52-item experimental task administered at Time 2. After we controlled for nonverbal IQ, age, vocabulary, and spelling achievement on Wide Range Achievement Test 4 at Time 1, regression analyses showed that phoneme awareness was the strongest predictor of spelling sophistication for English-L1 children, but syllable awareness and letter-sound knowledge were also important for Mandarin-L1 children. The implications of these differences in the cognitive-linguistic processing of bilingual children learning two dissimilar languages are briefly discussed. (Contains 5 tables.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Wide Range Achievement Test