The present study examined the development of morphological awareness and its contribution to vocabulary and reading comprehension among young Chinese-speaking English language learners (ELLs). We focused on two aspects of morphological awareness: derivational awareness and compound awareness. Participants included 46 kindergarteners (younger cohort) and 34 first graders (older cohort) of Chinese descent in Canada at the beginning of the study. Children were administered a battery of English measures including derivational awareness, compound awareness, phonological awareness, receptive vocabulary, and reading comprehension at two time points spaced 1 year apart. Results demonstrated a steady growth in Chinese-speaking ELL children’s derivational and compound awareness from kindergarten to Grade 2. Importantly, for the first graders, morphological awareness accounted for unique variance in vocabulary concurrently, and unique variance in both vocabulary and reading comprehension a year later. Generally speaking, the variance explained by morphological awareness increased with grade level, and derivational awareness accounted for more variance in vocabulary and reading comprehension than did compound awareness. These results underscore the emerging importance of morphological awareness, especially derivational awareness, in young Chinese-speaking ELL children’s English reading development.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 24, 2011
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