Contrary to previously held beliefs that bilingualism wonder hinder cognitive and language development in children, research has shown that bilingual children show enhanced cognitive flexibility and an ability to better focus their attention. This book explores both emergent literacy and bilingualism in children in four Asian countries - Hong Kong, Singapore, Myanmar, and Taiwan, giving specific examples of how adults (including parents, teachers, and other education professionals) can use creative interaction – as opposed to rote learning – to increase children’s interest in learning English as a second language. This is especially important in the increasingly computer-connected world, where innovation can be key in making second language learning both interesting and effective.
Specific contributions to this volume include a case study of Taiwanese families analyzing home videos of their children’s responses to the task of reading a Mandarin picture book; of vocabulary instruction in Hong Kong which requires children to gain triple language proficiency (Cantonese, English, and Mandarin); of the relation between Cantonese proficiency amongst 5 year olds in Hong Kong and their receptiveness to learning new English vocabulary; of the relation between English reading ability and Mandarin speaking ability amongst Singaporean children; of the importance of teachers’ sensitivity to gender differences among 6 year olds in Singapore learning English as a second language; of the active promotion of storytelling by teachers in Myanmar, in order to develop children’s interest in story structure, and to stimulate early language skills; and of an emphasis on family-based emergent literacy activities for children in Taiwan.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Early Child Development and Care.
1. Introduction to Asian language researches Alice Sterling Honig
2. English vocabulary instruction in six early childhood classrooms in Hong Kong Carrie Lau and Nirmala Rao
3. Implementation of the Hong Kong language policy in pre-school settings Cheung-Shing Sam Leung, Swee Eng Audrey Lim and Yuen Ling Li
4. Relationships between early language skills and future literacy development in Hong Kong Richard Wong Kwok Shing
5. Relationships between receptive vocabulary in English and Cantonese proficiency among five-year-old Hong Kong Kindergarten children Richard Wong Kwok Shing, Conrad Perry, Brian MacWhinney and Irene Wong Oi-ling
6. Predictors of reading ability in English for Mandarin-speaking bilingual children in Singapore Yah Hui Tan, Kenneth K. Poon and Susan J. Rickard Liow
7. Gender differences in the reading process of six-year-olds in Singapore Noel Kok Hwee Chia and Norman Kiak Nam Kee
8. Teachers’ perceptions of the importance of stories in the lives of children in Myanmar H.W. Tin, Karen P. Nonis, Swee Eng Audrey Lim and Alice Sterling Honig
9. Learning and language: educarer–child interactions in Singapore infant-care settings Cynthia Lim and Sirene May-Yin Lim
10. Taiwanese preschoolers’ emergent reading behaviours with an unfamiliar storybook Chu-Chu Wu and Alice Sterling Honig