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Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
O'Brien, B. A. (2020). Early bilingual experience and English literacy acquisition: An approach to phonics instruction. National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
Learning to read is essential, as it catalyzes later academic achievement. The early childhood years are critical for providing the linguistic input necessary for this learning process and the early instruction for laying the foundation of literacy acquisition. Different languages have different constraints in terms of oral language and how it is coded in print. For bilingual children, varying constraints across their languages present an additional challenge. English as a deep alphabetic orthography requires awareness of phonemic structure to enable mapping from letters to their corresponding sounds. For children coming from Chinese-speaking families, this level of phoneme awareness and identification may be difficult, as Chinese has a simpler syllable structure compared with English, with more salient syllable boundaries and no consonant clusters, and some English phonemes are also not expressed in Mandarin. Thus, additional means for teaching phonemes’ correspondence to letters in English may be in order for children coming from these types of bilingual backgrounds.
Note: Restricted to NIE staff.
Project number: 
OER 58/12 OBA
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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