Research has shown that English literacy instructional practices such as direct teaching of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing are effective for teaching English as second language learners. Previous research on early reading acquisition has focused on phonological awareness—the ability to consciously attend to and manipulate the sound structure of spoken language. Nevertheless, a series of previous studies suggests that children’s ability to match spoken words to written words while reading is important in early reading acquisition. The purpose of this study was to examine a model of early literacy development in which children’s concept of word is assumed to facilitate the development of phonological awareness and sight vocabulary. In this study, 30 kindergarten children who learn English as a second language from two kindergartens in Hong Kong were assessed and compared on measures of alphabet knowledge, concept of word, syllable, and phoneme awareness and word recognition ability. The results essentially replicated a previous study by Morris and support the proposed model. The results have implications for beginning reading instruction for children with English as the second language and future research in early literacy acquisition.
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