SCET Journal 2020/2021

« Language Matters

meaning has not changed. Uncovering this high-quali- ty miscue in the retrospective conversation helped her gain confidence in reading. When Qiao read in Chinese without pinyin, she strug- gled with it. However, she still tried to construct mean- ing using the clues that she searched. For example: 鼻子 [nose] 大象有一 对 大耳朵 [The elephant has a pair of large ears] She read “ 鼻子 ” instead of 耳朵 [ear] . Those two words did not share graphic or sound similarities. Qiao explained that she did not know 耳朵 . However, she predicted from the picture and read “ 鼻子 .” She did not stick with the sound and graphic similarities. However, her substitution changed the meaning. Even though there were other

everywhere.” The sentence she used for the retelling was the same as the author wrote, and she remem- bered it after she read the story a couple of weeks later. This suggests that she was paying attention to the way the writer told the story and learning from it. She was interested in the content of the English text and made personal connections with the text. However, when she read in Chinese, she focused on the surface level and tried hard to pronounce every word well. Her emotions did not change a lot while she was reading in Chinese. Qiao reported that it was hard to retell the Chinese texts. Her retelling score is 30 for reading with and without pinyin. When the first author asked how she felt about reading texts, she tended to talk more about the language of the texts, like how hard it is to read and how difficult

the words are, instead of talking about the content of the reading. Qiao was asked to draw her reading responses since she was interested in drawing. Figure 1 shows that she connected her personal life with the text, writing “I love this book because I love kittens.” In Figure 2, Qiao com- ments “because it’s not that hard and not to (too) easy.” She did not make any personal connec- tions with the Chinese text. Qiao is developing her bilitera- cy skills in both languages; how- ever, her biliteracy development is not balanced. Goodman (1967) argued that reading is a process that involves thoughts and lan- guage and meaning construction is not only based on the surface. Even though Qiao made miscues and spent time processing in- formation in both languages, her English reading was more profi- cient than her Chinese reading. She used all of her linguistic and pragmatic systems more effec- tively and efficiently in English. Discussion and Conclusion

clues in the text, Qiao failed to monitor the meaning or correct this miscue. Noticing this, the first author helped Qiao understand the importance of mean- ingful substitutions. It is essential for readers, especially emergent bi- lingual readers like Qiao, to learn about the impor- tance of meaning and avoid focusing too much on the surface level.

Figure 3 Response to the English text

Comprehension in Two Languages Qiao focused more on the con- tent of the English text and relied on decoding the Chinese text. When Qiao read in English, she read more emotionally, and she got excited when she was reading. Her retelling score is 75. She could remember the exciting details well, even one month later. In addition, she borrowed the text author’s sentence structure. For example, she retold the most exciting part as, “The mom cleaned the spot the Kitty missed, which is almost

Figure 4 Response to the Chinese text with pinyin

South Carolina English Teacher



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