Early teaching of Chinese literacy skills and later literacy outcomes

Hui Li*, Loraine F. Corrie, Betty Kit Mei Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This study followed 88 children in Beijing and Hong Kong for three years to investigate the relationships between the early teaching of literacy skills and later literacy outcomes. The children were administered the Preschool and Primary Chinese Literacy Scale at the age of five years, and three years later. Their parents and teachers reported on their involvement in literacy teaching, the home/classroom literacy environment and their beliefs about language learning. Findings showed that the Hong Kong cohort significantly surpassed their Beijing counterparts in literacy attainments at age five and age eight. After controlling for age, site, maternal education and teacher qualification, formal literacy activities in early childhood significantly contributed to literacy attainment at primary school, whereas informal literacy experiences did not. Results suggest that the complicated nature of Chinese orthography may make early instruction particularly valuable in Chinese literacy acquisition. The psycholinguistic, pedagogical and sociocontextual accounts and implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-459
Number of pages19
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese literacy
  • early teaching
  • later outcomes


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