Emergent literacy in Chinese: Print awareness of young children in Taiwan.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study has been to discover print awareness of kindergarten children in Taiwan and the evidence that they are constructing knowledge about written Chinese. The study utilized Print Awareness Tasks including twenty environmental print items chosen from the Taiwanese society. Sixteen kindergartners age from three to six were the informants. These children were asked to read and respond to environmental print items with a different degree of decontextualization in each of the two task sessions. The results of the study showed that kindergarten children in Taiwan are highly aware of print in their environment. These young children demonstrated high semantic intent when they read environmental print. They used various information sources available to them, which include contextual clues in the print setting and their personal experience and background knowledge. They also showed that they used their developing concepts about the Chinese writing system as linguistic strategies to help them read the print items. There were differences between the responses to the two task sessions in terms of semantic and pragmatic characteristics and use of information. The contextual clues appeared to play a significant role in reading of environmental print. There were also differences between age groups. Three and six year olds differed from other age groups in terms of the semantic and pragmatic characteristic of their responses and their use of information. The children demonstrated that they were developing important concepts about the Chinese writing system. They were hypothesizing the representational relationships in language between: (a) written representation and the object it represents; (b) written representation and oral utterance--character-syllable correspondence; and (c) segmentation in written representation--language units. Most of the children had developed the concept of character as a written segment and word as a semantic segment. Very few of them had concept of the radical. They appeared read in a holistic way. The older children tended to develop concepts which were more specific and were closer to the conventions; however, no fixed linear developmental progress by age is suggested by the data.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education