290 – How does home language environment impact 4- to 6-year-old Chinese children’s reading comprehension?

Presentation - ECV2022-290

How does home language environment impact 4- to 6-year-old Chinese children’s reading comprehension?

Daoyue Wang, Shanghai Normal University, China (paloma_wong@163.com)
Linhui Li, Shanghai Normal University, China (lhli@shnu.edu.cn)

Background: Comprehension is the purpose and one of the core abilities of reading. Most studies in the field of reading comprehension focus on school-age children, thus, little about preschool children’s reading comprehension development is known.

Aim: To explore the influence of home language environment factors on 4- to 6-year-old children’s reading comprehension.

Method: Participantswere 235 children aged 4–6 years from five kindergartens in different districts of Shanghai, China. After obtaining the permission of parents, children’s reading comprehension was assessed, and the Home Language Environment (HLE) questionnaire was completed by 199 parents. SPSS 26.0 was used to analyse the data in this study.

Results: Children’s reading comprehension scores increased significantly with age. Children did better on literal information recognition than plot inference and integrative inference; children’s capacity of literal information recognition, plot inference and integrative inference developed with different speed in the two years.  

Most families with young children had 11–50 or 51–100 parent books and 11–20 or 21–50 toddler books. Most families have 1–4 items of language learning software and audio toys. Most parents read 1–2 or 3–4 times per week, and their reading time was 0.5–1 hour or less than 0.5 hour per week. In terms of the frequency and duration of use of teaching toys, families of young children were more likely to use audio toys. Most families carried out parent-child shared reading and interaction, and parent-child interaction was relatively frequent.

Home language environment factors influencing children’s comprehension included: thenumber of language learning software items (predicted literal information recognition), phonetic toys (plot inference), socioeconomic status, parent-child interaction time (integrative inference), and frequency of language learning software use (overall reading comprehension).

Conclusions: Overall, children’s reading comprehension was limited but there were individual differences. A range of language environment factors influenced children’s reading comprehension development.

Implications for children and families: During family activities you can provide ample reading materials to use in shared-reading, talking and interacting with your children. Asking questions can stimulate your children’s higher-order thinking.

Implications for practitioners: Provide reading materials and reading support according to the age characteristics of children’s reading comprehension. For instance, for children aged 4, select picture books with simple pictures and concentrated plots. For children aged 6, select picture books with rich pictures, changes in plots, and more diverse relationships between pictures and words.

Funding: Shanghai Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project (2015BYY009)

Key words: early literacy, reading comprehension, development, home language environment, communication

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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