Reading depends on writing | 書寫促進閱讀

Word recognition depends on an integration of phonology (sound), orthography (print) and semantics (meaning). Both Chinese and English written spelling facilitate the  integration of these three components.

Unlike Mainland China and Taiwan, where pinyin and zhuyinfuhao are used to assist children’s Chinese learning in the early years, respectively, there is no consistent phonological coding system used to enhance Hong Kong children’s learning of Chinese print. Instead, the ‘look and say’ method is the most common way to teach children Chinese in Hong Kong. Teachers first demonstrate the writing of a character, usually in front of the class, on a whiteboard, and then children copy the character multiple times. Stroke order is always emphasized during the learning process.

According to the Education Bureau of Hong Kong, children should not learn to write until they attend primary school. This is because children’s muscle control, especially in relation to fine motor skill, has not been fully developed. Too many demands of repeated copying could be detrimental to muscle development as well as learning motivation. However, most Hong Kong parents worry that their children will fall behind, and so they start teaching them how to write Chinese, and sometimes English as well, at a very young age.

Given all of the facts above, we have several suggestions. First, activities or games, such as figure puzzle games and drawing, help children to develop visual analysis skills and visual-motor integration, and prepare children for later handwriting activities in primary school. Why not emphasize children’s participation in these fun activities more and formal writing less? Second, for kindergartens, teachers and parents can provide some drawing or writing opportunities. Instead of emphasizing the handwriting accuracy and beauty, they should focus on increasing children’s level of confidence and motivation in writing, and in consolidating the connections between phonology, orthography, and semantics. This can be done by, for example, reading aloud the word to children, explaining its meaning in context, and then asking children to copy it. Third,  invented spelling of pinyin or zhuyinfuhao can encourage children’s early attempts in spelling. Also, teaching children radical knowledge (i.e., identification and positioning of phonetic and semantic radical knowledge) and stroke order principles can benefit their early spelling. Finally, the use of multi-media might increase children’s learning motivation and reduce the load of motor control, especially among young children. While traditional handwriting activities can make kindergartners tired, bored, or frustrated, typing on a computer or using a touch pad would greatly reduce the motor control required for children to learn how to write. More importantly, a combination of figures, music, and feedback/rewards can catch children’s attention and keep them motivated.  There are a lot of multi-media spelling games in English (for example, see http://www.abcya.com/preschool_games.htm) that teachers and parents can use. On the other hand, teachers can also think of developing their own spelling games in Chinese.

References:

McBride-Chang, C., Lin, D., Liu, P. D., Aram, D., Levin, I., Cho, J. R., ... & Zhang, Y. (2012). The ABC’s of Chinese: Maternal mediation of Pinyin for Chinese children’s early literacy skills. Reading and Writing, 25(1), 283-300.

Ng, M. L., & Rao, N. (2013). Teaching English in Hong Kong kindergartens: A survey of practices. International Journal of Literacies.

Tan, L. H., Spinks, J. A., Eden, G. F., Perfetti, C. A., & Siok, W. T. (2005). Reading depends on writing, in Chinese. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(24), 8781-8785.

Wang, Y., McBride-Chang, C., & Chan, S. F. (2014). Correlates of Chinese kindergarteners’ word reading and writing: the unique role of copying skills?. Reading and Writing, 27(7), 1281-1302.

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This article was written by our guest blogger Dr. Mo Jianhong. Dr. Mo is currently a part-time research assistant in the Life Span Development Laboratory of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Mo Jianhong, Part-time Research Assistant, Life Span Development Laboratory Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Email: lanny.mjh@gmail.com


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讀詞(詞語識別)的過程依靠於對語音、字形和語義資訊的整合。而中、英文的詞語拼寫(書寫)過程,能夠促進這三種成分更好的整合到一起。 中國大陸以及臺灣分別使用拼音和注音符號來輔助兒童早期的中文學習。香港兒童缺乏類似的具有一致性的語音編碼系統來幫助他們學習中文。事實上,香港教師最普遍使用的是“看和讀”的教學方法。在課堂中,老師首先在白板上一筆一畫的書寫一個單字,然後要求學生按照規定的筆劃順序,反復抄寫該單字。 根據香港教育局的規定,兒童在上小學之前不應該學習寫字。因為兒童的肌肉控制,尤其是精細動作控制,還未充分發展。過多的要求兒童反復抄寫可能會損害他們的肌肉發展, 並降低他們的學習動機。然而,大多數香港家長非常擔心自己的孩子會落後於人,常常在孩子很小的時候就教他們練習中文以及英文的拼寫(書寫)。 考慮到以上諸多事實,我們有以下幾條建議:首先,有一些遊戲或活動,例如拼圖遊戲或者畫畫,可以幫助兒童發展視覺分析能力和視覺-動作整合能力,從而讓兒童為進入小學之後的書寫功課做好準備。不如更多的讓兒童參與這些有趣又有益的活動,而減少正式的寫字練習?其次,我們認為,對於幼稚園的孩子,老師和家長可以提供一些畫畫和寫字的機會。但是老師和家長要關注提升兒童書寫的信心和學習寫字的動機,強調加強語音、字形和語義之間的聯結;而不是強調書寫的準確性和美觀程度。第三,使用拼音或注音符號進行創造性拼寫(invented spelling )能夠鼓勵兒童更多的進行寫字的早期嘗試。最後,對於年幼的兒童而言,使用多媒體技術或許可以增加他們的學習動機,並減少動作控制的負擔。傳統的書寫練習容易使幼稚園兒童感到疲勞,厭倦和受挫折;而用電腦鍵盤打字輸入,或者在平板電腦的觸摸屏上用手指觸摸輸入,可以極大減少寫字過程中的動作控制負荷。更重要的是圖片、音樂以及反饋/獎賞的結合,可以抓住兒童的注意力,並讓他們保持學習積極性。網路中有許多英文拼寫的多媒體遊戲資源供老師和家長使用(例如,可查看網站http://www.abcya.com/preschool_games.htm)。同時,老師們也可以考慮自行製作中文的多媒體拼寫遊戲在教學中使用。 参考文献: McBride-Chang, C., Lin, D., Liu, P. D., Aram, D., Levin, I., Cho, J. R., ... & Zhang, Y. (2012). The ABC’s of Chinese: Maternal mediation of Pinyin for Chinese children’s early literacy skills. Reading and Writing, 25(1), 283-300. Ng, M. L., & Rao, N. (2013). Teaching English in Hong Kong kindergartens: A survey of practices. International Journal of Literacies. Wang, Y., McBride-Chang, C., & Chan, S. F. (2014). Correlates of Chinese kindergarteners’ word reading and writing: the unique role of copying skills?. Reading and Writing, 27(7), 1281-1302. Tan, L. H., Spinks, J. A., Eden, G. F., Perfetti, C. A., & Siok, W. T. (2005). Reading depends on writing, in Chinese. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(24), 8781-8785.

______________________________________________________________________________________ 此文章由我們的客席博客莫劍宏博士撰寫。莫博士現為香港中文大學心理學系的兼職研究助理。 莫劍宏博士 兼職研究助理 香港中文大學心理學系 生命全期發展實驗室 電郵: lanny.mjh@gmail.com

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