Morphological instruction and reading development in young L2 readers: A scoping review of causal relationships

Main Article Content

Sihui (Echo) Ke
Dongbo Zhang

Abstract

This scoping review explores the causal relationship between morphological instruction and reading development in young L2 learners by synthesizing 12 primary studies published between 2004 and 2019 (N = 1,535). These studies focused on reading English as the target language and involved participants between kindergarten and Grade 12 from four countries (China, Egypt, Singapore, and the USA). Findings suggested that (a) morphological instruction led to consistent and positive gains in L2 children’s morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge, and the effect sizes (Cohen’s ds) ranged from small to large; and (b) the relationship between morphological instruction and other outcomes such as phonological awareness, word reading accuracy, word reading fluency, spelling, and reading comprehension was inconclusive. Notably, transfer effects of L2 English morphological instruction on novel word learning in English or on reading development in an additional language were only examined and observed in four primary studies. Discussion was provided regarding future instructional and research design.

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How to Cite
Ke, S. (Echo), & Zhang, D. (2021). Morphological instruction and reading development in young L2 readers: A scoping review of causal relationships. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 11(3), 331-350. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2021.11.3.2
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Articles
Author Biographies

Sihui (Echo) Ke, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA

Sihui (Echo) Ke, PhD, is Assistant Professor of second language acquisition at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA. Her primary research interest is in second language reading and biliteracy development. Her research incorporates quantitative, psycholinguistic and mixed methods. Her work has appeared in Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, Modern Language Journal and Reading Research Quarterly. Her research projects have received external support from Language Learning Early Career Research Grant (2019-2020) and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 2018 Research Priorities Initiative.

Contact details: 1055 Patterson Office Tower, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506, USA (sihui.ke@uky.edu)

Dongbo Zhang, University of Exeter, UK

Dongbo Zhang, PhD, is Professor of Language Education (TESOL) in the Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter, UK. He previously held appointments in the United States, Singapore, and China. He is primarily interested in vocabulary knowledge and reading development in second language (L2) or bilingual learners, and is well published on this topic. His work has appeared in journals such as Applied Linguistics, Applied Psycholinguistics, Language Learning, Modern Language Journal and Reading Research Quarterly, among many others. He is an editor of Chinese as a Second Language Assessment (Springer; with Chin-Hsi Lin) and Reading in Chinese as a Second Language (under contract with Routledge; with Liu Li). He is currently on the Editorial Board of Language and Education and TESOL Quarterly, among others.

Contact details: Baring Court, University of Exeter St Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK (d.zhang4@exeter.ac.uk)

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