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Past event

Cross-linguistic Perspectives on Reading Development


This presentation will discuss the development of reading abilities from cross-linguistic perspectives. Print represents spoken language, which is a universal principle that holds across languages; yet how specifically different linguistic units are encoded in print vary from language to language. The similarities and variations in language-to-print mapping relationships suggest universal as well as language/script-specific processes in early reading development.

I argue cross-linguistic perspectives not only contribute to the advancement of our understanding about reading science, which used to be formed largely on the basis of English, but also have strong instructional implications in that millions of students in today’s world learn to read either for the first time in a language other than their home language or concurrently in two languages. To illustrate the benefits of cross-linguistic perspectives, I will draw upon the current literature on reading development in different languages, primarily English and Chinese, including my own research on young children in China, Singapore, and the United States. 

Biographical note:
Dongbo Zhang is Professor of Language Education in the Graduate School of Education at University of Exeter. He holds a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, and previously worked in China, Singapore, and the United States where he was engaged in teaching and researching second language / bilingual learners and language teachers. His research interests include reading and vocabulary knowledge development, bilingualism and biliteracy, and language teacher education.

This event is free to attend, however please email Dr Annabel Watson to confirm attendance.

Other events in this series

Contesting the territory: How English teachers in England and Australia are remaining resilient and creative in constraining times
17 May 2018
University of Bedfordshire

Whose canon is it anyway? Literature in the secondary curriculum post-Gove
24 May 2018
University of Oxford