Cognitive Predictors of Reading Achievement in Chinese English Immersion Students
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The cognitive processes underlying reading achievement in Chinese English immersion students are not yet clear. This study investigated the effects of phonological awareness (PA) and naming speed (NS) on reading achievement and explored the evidence for cross-linguistic transfer in Chinese English immersion students. In addition, the differences between immersion and non-immersion students on Chinese measures were examined. The participants were 135 English immersion students and 103 non-immersion students from Grades 2, 4, and 6 in mainland China. For English immersion students, English predictors proved to be strong predictors of English reading achievement at the three grade levels. However, the unique predictors of English reading achievement were English PA in Grades 2 and 4, but English NS in Grade 6. Chinese PA was a significant predictor of Chinese achievement, but only in Grade 2. There was little evidence of cross-linguistic transfer. With regards to the Chinese performance of the two groups of students, English immersion students demonstrated an advantage over non-immersion students in Grade 6, but no significant differences were found in Grades 2 and 4; these results suggest either the long-term effect of a bilingual program or a selection effect. Results are discussed in terms of theories of reading development, and suggestions are offered for overcoming the limitations of the present study in future research.