Addressing the reading achievement gap in low-income families: an early reading intervention program

Addressing the reading achievement gap in low-income families: an early reading intervention program

First Author: Kevin Kien Hoa Chung -- Department of Early Childhood Education, The Education University of Hong Ko
Additional authors/chairs: 
Li Xiaomin; Lam Chun Bun; Lam Cheuk Yi; Lai Pui Yee; McBride Catherine; Cheung Sum Kwing
Abstract / Summary: 

Although Hong Kong has the world’s most competitive economy, some 25% of all children in its population live below the poverty line. This study examined the effects of an early reading intervention program on Chinese and English language skills of Chinese children from low-income families in Hong Kong. Ninety-nine kindergarten children (mean age = 64.24 months; 42% were girls) received pretests and posttests, separated by 5 months, on phonological awareness, morphological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, and word reading in both Chinese and English. Between the two tests, the intervention group (n = 59) received 18 sessions of 30 minutes on Chinese language skills, as well as 12 sessions on English language skills, whereas the control group (n = 40) received no treatment. ANCOVA analyses revealed that, controlling for parental education and child gender, age, and pretest performance, the intervention group performed significantly better in posttests on phonological awareness and morphological awareness in Chinese, and phonological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, and word reading in English, compared to the control group. Findings highlighted the potential utility of an early reading intervention program to address the reading achievement gap in low-income families in highly developed Asian regions, such as Hong Kong.