Addressing Linguistic Differences in Literacy Instruction for Chinese Mandarin-Speaking English Learners

Hong Xu, Shelley
March 2014
California Reader;Spring2014, Vol. 47 Issue 3, p9
Academic Journal
A growing number of Chinese Mandarin-speaking English learners (CSELs) are enrolled in American schools. Teachers, who are often not familiar with the Chinese languages, find it challenging to pinpoint areas of difficulty and address unique needs of this group of English learners during literacy instruction. This article provides an overview of the Chinese language in the areas of phonology, semantics, syntax, and morphology; the linguistic differences between English and Chinese in these areas; and areas of difficulty caused by these linguistic differences. This article also presents two specific instructional strategies (word sorting and unpacking sentences) that can be applied in literacy instruction to address some California English Language Development (ELD) Standards. At the conclusion of this article, several general strategies are discussed.


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