Tse, S. K., Loh, E. K. Y., Lam, R. Y. H., & Lam, J. W. I. (2010). A comparison of English and Chinese reading proficiency of primary school Chinese students. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31(2), 181-199. doi: 10.1080/01434630903514212.
A comparison of English and Chinese reading proficiency of primary school Chinese students
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Shek Kam TSE, Ka Yee Elizabeth LOH, Yu Hong Raymond LAM, Wai Ip Joseph LAM
Hong Kong children's comprehension of Chinese and English text is of concern to parents and teachers since school leavers need to be proficient readers both of Chinese and English. Although Chinese has been officially designated the medium of instruction in most secondary schools, many parents want their children to be taught in English-medium schools for, although Hong Kong is now a Chinese region, being literate in English is still highly prized by the public. A comparison was made of the bilingual reading attainment of Hong Kong primary students, using instruments and procedures used in the 2001 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. The average standard of reading English was below the international average, and only 70% of the average standard of reading in Chinese. Only 7% of students read English as well as age-related peers in English-speaking countries. Whereas this minority can be taught via English to no academic detriment, most students understand text much less well in English than in Chinese. The best readers were good both in English and Chinese, the poor readers being particularly weak readers of English. Being taught via English enhanced students' general English reading ability, and being taught in Cantonese enhanced their Chinese reading ability.