What is more important in early reading: Intensive or extensive reading? | 集中閱讀還是擴展閱讀?兒童早期閱讀有講究

One of the best gifts parents can give to their children is leading them into the world of reading. Early reading benefits children’s development. It may help to promote children’s brain development by enhancing the links among brain cells and by forming new links. Also, attention span and concentration are improved through reading. In addition, the greater general knowledge and the expansion of vocabulary children get likely facilitate their later academic performance, which helps them to grow in self-confidence and independence.


Nowadays, more and more parents see the benefits of early reading. But a question that often confuses them is whether intensive reading, involving memory training, or more extensive reading, involving a focus on reading for pleasure more than learning, is more important in early reading skills development. Intensive reading in language learning means reading in detail or getting a full understanding of the materials. When it comes to children’s early reading, especially in Chinese families, it also refers to memorizing the material or reciting the whole story. Extensive reading, in contrast, refers to reading widely. It encourages children to read as much as possible, for pleasure or interest, rather than merely for learning particular language features (Coles & Hall, 2002). Many Chinese parents are proud of having their children reel off Tang Dynasty poems or reciting a story they read at an early age. Some of them are crazy about training their children into a memory genius. Others feel that reading as much as possible may be better for children. Here, we would like to suggest that parents prioritize helping their children to get involved in more reading materials and to develop good habits in reading, rather than prioritizing rote memorization.


Learning to read and to spell are not simply matters of memorizing words or characters, but in large measure a consequence of developing phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and orthographic knowledge. Extensive reading promotes development of this knowledge by providing children an opportunity to be exposed to writing, which is very important in the theory of statistical learning. This is based on the idea that children implicitly pick up patterns in a variety of domains from an early age. Even before formal literacy instruction begins, and even before they relate symbols to sounds and meanings, children apply their statistical learning skills to the outer form of writing. For example, researchers have found that Chinese kindergarteners tend to be sensitive to the orthographic and phonological regularities in Chinese characters (Yin & McBride, 2015; Tong & McBride, 2014). They detect statistical regularities in written language even before they receive formal reading instruction. That is, children can derive knowledge implicitly by simply being exposed to writings, words, and characters. In addition, extensive reading provides children with access to massive background knowledge, which is a vitally important skill in reading comprehension (McBride, 2016)


In contrast, there is little evidence showing that memory strategy training in early childhood has a significant influence on children’s later life. Using strategies may benefit memorizing performance. However, children are still developing their skills in self-control and attention. That makes it hard for them to concentrate on material for a long time. They may get tired or distracted easily. Required to memorize or recite things, they may even lose interest in reading. That is not what parents want to see.


Although we do not suggest rote memorization in early reading, we encourage rereading based on children’s interest. Adults may get tired of reading the same story over and over again. But kids like to spot things they may have missed the first time in the story or pictures of their favorite books. Rereading also gives them a chance to connect the words they see on the page with the words they hear. If children are interested in some of the books they read, encourage them to read them again.


Overall, being involved in a world of reading materials at an early age has a lot of benefits for children. It helps them develop the interest and good habits in reading while acquiring knowledge of words and spelling in an implicit way. Rather than rote memorization, we suggest extensive reading in early childhood and also rereading depending upon children’s interests.


References:

Coles, M., & Hall, C. (2002). Children's reading choices. London: Routledge.

McBride, C. (2016). Children's Literacy Development: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Learning to Read and Write (Second edition). New York: Routledge.

Tong, X., & McBride, C. (2014). Chinese children’s statistical learning of orthographic regularities: Positional constraints and character structure. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18(4), 291-308.

Yin, L., & McBride, C. (2015). Chinese kindergartners learn to read characters analytically. Psychological science, 26(4), 424-432

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This article was written by our guest blogger Miss YE, Yanyan. Miss YE is currently a Ph.D student of the Department of Psychology in Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interest is literacy development.

Miss YE, Yanyan

M.Phil. (South China Normal University)

Ph.D candidate

Department of Psychology

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Email: yyyryann@link.cuhk.edu.hk


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父母給予孩子最好的禮物莫過於帶領他們進入閱讀的世界。早期閱讀對兒童的發展有諸多好處。它可以增強並增加大腦細胞間的連結,促進大腦的發育。通過閱讀,注意力廣度和專注力也得到提高。另外,孩子們通過閱讀獲得的知識以及擴展的詞彙量,對他們今後學業大有益處。而學業成就上的優勢又對兒童的身心發育尤其是自信心和獨立性的建立尤為重要。 如今,越來越多父母注意到早期閱讀的好處。但同時他們也常常被一個問題困擾:究竟是對孩子進行記憶力訓練的集中性閱讀,還是以快樂而不是學習為目的擴展性閱讀對兒童早期的閱讀能力發展更重要呢?在語言學習中,集中性閱讀是指要理解閱讀材料的細節並對其有全面通透的理解。對於兒童早期閱讀來說,特別是在中國家庭中,它還包括對閱讀材料的記憶和背誦。相反,擴展性閱讀指的是廣泛性閱讀,鼓勵兒童以快樂或興趣為目的而不是為了語言學習,去閱讀盡可能多的材料(Coles & Hall, 2002)。許多中國父母對他們的孩子能夠很小就熟練背誦唐詩和文章而感到驕傲,甚至有些父母熱衷於把孩子訓練成“記憶天才”。同時,另一些父母卻感覺廣泛閱讀才更有利於孩子。在此,我們主張父母優先讓孩子閱讀盡可能多的材料, 而不是進行機械記憶。 兒童學習閱讀和書寫不僅僅是記憶字詞這麼簡單,而是語音意識,語素意識和字法知識發展的結果。擴展性閱讀之所以能夠促進這些知識的發展,是因為它提供了孩子們接觸文字的機會,這在統計性學習的理論中非常重要。統計性學習理論認為,兒童從很小開始,就能夠通過接觸和觀察,內隱地學習到很多知識。甚至在他們接受正式的語言學習之前或在他們還不會把文字、語音、語義聯繫起來之前,他們就開始通過統計性學習來認識文字。譬如,研究者們發現,中國幼兒園的學童對漢字的字形和語音規則已經非常敏感,他們在接受正式的閱讀訓練之前就已經能夠發現文字的內在規律(Yin & McBride, 2015; Tong & McBride, 2014 ).。也就是說,他們僅僅通過多接觸文字就能夠不知不覺學習到這些知識。除此之外,擴展性閱讀還使得兒童有機會接觸大量的背景知識,這在閱讀理解中也是極其重要的(McBride, 2016). 相反,目前為止,很少研究證據證明早期的記憶訓練對兒童往後的發展有顯著影響。雖然使用記憶策略可以幫助我們更好地記憶,但是兒童仍然處在自我控制和注意力的發展階段,他們很難長時間集中註意,也很容易疲倦和分心。如果在這種情況下,要求他們去記憶和背誦,他們很可能就失去閱讀的興趣。這也與父母們的初衷相悖。 儘管我們不建議機械背誦,但我們鼓勵根據兒童的興趣去給他們重複閱讀已經讀過的書。我們成人可能會覺得反复讀同樣的故事會無聊,但對孩子們來說,他們可能很喜歡反复地看同樣的書,以發現他們上一次閱讀中沒有發現的事物。重複閱讀還使得他們有機會把他們聽到和看到的字詞聯結起來。因此,如果他們對看過的書很感興趣,就鼓勵他們再次閱讀。總的來說,兒童在幼年時期就接觸大量的閱讀書籍對他們的發展大有裨益。擴展性閱讀幫助他們發展閱讀興趣,建立良好的閱讀習慣同時內隱地獲得字詞知識。因此,相比於機械記憶,我們更鼓勵擴展性閱讀同時根據兒童的興趣進行重複閱讀。 參考文獻: Coles, M., & Hall, C. (2002). Children's reading choices. London: Routledge. McBride, C. (2016). Children's Literacy Development: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Learning to Read and Write (Second edition). New York: Routledge. Tong, X., & McBride, C. (2014). Chinese children’s statistical learning of orthographic regularities: Positional constraints and character structure. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18(4), 291-308. Yin, L., & McBride, C. (2015). Chinese kindergartners learn to read characters analytically. Psychological science, 26(4), 424-432

______________________________________________________________________________________ 此文章由我們的客席博客葉嫣妍小姐撰寫。葉小姐現為香港中文大學心理學系的博士研究生。她的研究興趣主要是兒童讀寫能力發展。 葉嫣妍小姐 M.Phil(華南師範大學) 博士研究生 香港中文大學心理學系 電郵:yyyryann@link.cuhk.edu.hk

______________________________________________________________________________________ 此文章由我們的客席博客葉嫣妍小姐撰寫。葉小姐現為香港中文大學心理學系的博士研究生。她的研究興趣主要是兒童讀寫能力發展。 葉嫣妍小姐 M.Phil(華南師範大學) 博士研究生 香港中文大學心理學系 電郵:yyyryann@link.cuhk.edu.hk

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