Dr ZHOU, Yanling    周彥玲 博士
Assistant Professor
Department of Early Childhood Education
(852) 2948 7386
(852) 2948 7160
10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
Scopus ID
Personal Profile

Dr Yanling Zhou is a developmental psychologist and qualified primary and secondary school teacher. She worked as a language teacher and teacher trainer at primary and secondary schools for over ten years before her reserach career. Her research interests lie in the field of developmental psychology, with an emphasis on the language and literacy development of Chinese and English as both L1 and L2 in typical children and children with learning difficulties at early education settings. Taking special account of factors including underlying mechanisms of literacy acquisition and parental influence, as well as teaching pedagogies of language education. 

Research Outputs

Scholarly Books, Monographs and Chapters
Chapter in an edited book (author)
Zhou, Yanling; Ng, Mei Lee (2016). English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English Medium Instruction (EMI) for 3-7 year old children in East Asian contexts. V. A. Murphy; M. Evangelou, British Council Column (137-158). London: British Council.
Zhou, Y., Tong, X., Mo, J., & McBride-Chang, C. (2014). Cross-language transfer in bilingual students.. A. B. Clinton, School Psychology Book Series (1-2). Washington, DC: School Psychology Book Series.
Zhou, Y.-L., Tong, X.-H., Mo, J.-H. & McBride-Chang, C. (2014). Cross-language transfer in bilingual students. Amanda B. Clinton, Assessing Bilingual Children in Context- An Integrated Approach (27-52). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Liu, P., Zhou, Y.-L., & McBride-Chang, C. (2010). Morphological awareness: why and how to link it to Chinese literacy teaching and learning. Chen, J. G., Wang, C. & Cai, J., Teaching and Learning Chinese: Issues and Perspectives (237-256). Charlottel:NC: Information Age Publishing.
Zhou, Y.-L. & McBride-Chang, C. (2009). Teaching English as a foreign language to young Chinese children. Jikal, R. L. & Raner, S.A., Second Language: Teaching, Learning and Assessment. (27-39). New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Journal Publications
Publication in refereed journal
Zhou, Y. (2021). The effect of dialogic reading paired with multisensory learning of Chinese characters and morphological awareness skills for L2 Chinese young learners at Hong Kong kindergartens. Foreign Language Annals, (In press), 1-25.
Wong, Y.K., & Zhou, Y. (2021). Effects of Metalinguistic Awareness on Chinese as a Second Language Spelling through the Mediation of Reading and Copying (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-021-10167-0). Reading and Writing, retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11145-021-10167-0, Online publication, online.
Ju, Z., Zhou, Y., & Delmas, R. (2021). The Contributions of Separate Pinyin Skills and Oral Vocabulary to Chinese Word Reading of U.S. Mandarin Immersion Third Graders (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-021-10150-9). Reading and Writing, retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-021-10150-9, Online publication, 1-21.
Wang, Y. McBride, C.,Zhou, Y., Joshi, M & Farver, J. (2017). Becoming literate in Chinese: A comparison of native and non-native speaking children. Journal of Research in Reading, n/a, n/a.
Zhou, Y.L., McBride, C., Leung, J. Wang, Y., Joshi, M & Marver, J. (2017). Chinese and English reading related skills in L1 and L2 Chinese speaking children in Hong Kong. Language and Cognitive Processes, In press, n/a.
Zhou, Y.-L. & McBride, C. (2015). The same or different: An investigation of cognitive and linguistic correlates of Chinese word reading for native and non-native Chinese speaking children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Firstview article, 1-17.
Zhou, Y.-L., McBride-Chang & Wong, N. (2014). What is the role of visual skills in learning to read?. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 776-776.
Zhou, Y.-L., McBride-Chang, C., Law, A. B.-Y., Li, T., Cheung, A.C-Y., Wong, A. M.-Y., & Shu, H. (2014). Development of reading related skills in Chinese and English among Hong Kong Chinese children with and without dyslexia. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 122, 75-91.
Zhou, Y. L., McBride-Chang, C., Fong, C. Y. C., Wong, T. T. Y., & Cheung, S. K. (2012). A comparison of phonological awareness, lexical compounding, and homophone training for Chinese word reading in Hong Kong kindergartners. Early Education and Development, 23, 475-492.
Zhou, Y.-L., McBride-Chang, C., Fong, C. Y.-C., Wong, T. T.-Y., & Cheung, S. K. (2012). A comparison of phonological awareness, lexical compounding, and homophone training for Chinese word reading in Hong Kong kindergartners. Early Education and Development, 23, 475-492.
McBride-Chang,C., Zhou, Y.-L., Cho, J.-R., Aram, D., Levin, I., & Tolchinsky, L. (2011). Visual spatial skills: A consequence of learning to read?. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109, 256-262.

Conference Papers
Refereed conference paper
Zhou, Y.-L, McBride-Chang, C. (2013, July). Chinese and English word reading in 8 and 9 year old children learning Chinese as a foreign language in Hong Kong. The 20th Annual Meeting of Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Hong KOng.
Zhou, Y.-L., & McBride-Chang, C. (2012, October). The same or different: An investigation of cognitive and linguistic correlates of Chinese and English word reading for native and non-native Chinese speaking children.. 14th International Conference on the Processing of East Asian Languages and Symposium on Brain and Communication, Nagoya, Japan.
Zhou, Y.-L., & McBride-Chang, C (2011, April). Reading different orthographies affects the development of visual skill. the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) conference, Montreal, Canada.
Zhou, Y.-L., McBride-Chang, C., & Wong, A. M.-Y (2010). Suspected Early language delay, early word reading difficulties, and dyslexia in Chinese children. The 13th International Conference on the processing of East Asian languages, Beijing, China.


Inequalities in Early Childhood Development in Low and Middle-income Countries from 2010 to 2019: Evidence from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys 4 to 6.

Project Start Year: 2022, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling
Childhood, Cooperation & Conflict: Exploring the Role of Cooperation and Conflict in Children’s Texts, Play and Peer Relations, and Implications for Social Competence and Social Cohesion
This study is concerned with cooperation and conflict in children’s texts, play and peer relations, with a view to better understanding how social cohesion begins to take shape during early childhood. The research will analyse cultural texts such as children’s picture books with thematic concerns about cooperation and conflict, and will also undertake visual ethnographies in early childhood settings in Hong Kong and Australia
Project Start Year: 2021, Principal Investigator(s): SALTMARSH, Sue Okerson (ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲 as Co-Investigator)
Childhood, Schooling and Challenging Family Circumstances: Experiences and Perspectives on Supporting Children and Engaging with Parents in Times of Family Crisis
The project explores how challenging family circumstances such as parental separation, divorce and family violence impact on parent-school engagement, parental support-seeking from schools, and parental advocacy on behalf of children. The study will identify challenges for schools, and organizational practices that make the most difference to parents and children, and will lead to better understandings of how preschools and schools can best support children and parents during periods of family crisis.
Project Start Year: 2021, Principal Investigator(s): SALTMARSH, Sue Okerson (ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲 as Co-Investigator)
Diversity, Equity and Social Inclusion Research Group
This proposal builds on and extends the achievements over the last two years by the Intercultural Studies Strategic Research Group in establishing a culture of collaborative research and high quality research outcomes:
i) Successful grant applications on diversity: 5 of 6 GRF/ECS applications since 2017 successful (83% success rate);
ii) Quality outputs: 1 co-edited book (Springer), 9 A*, 6 A journal articles by members on diversity (2 co-authored; three won awards)
iii) Research collaboration: multi-method, collaborative research project involving all members on ‘Belonging of Diverse Youth in Hong Kong’
iv) International conferences: AERA Symposium (2019); presentations at Korean Association for Multicultural Education (KAME) (2019);
v) RPG support: Monthly Theory Reading group.
vi) Community engagement: Symposium with the Equal Opportunity Commission, NGOs, schools practitioners and community members on ‘Minorities and Education: Future directions?’, https://sites.google.com/friends.eduhk.hk/intercultural-res/events/symposium
vii) Internationalization: i) established APIRN (Asia Pacific Intercultural Research Network) to connect regional diversity scholars. Includes members from Korean Educational Development Institute, Gyeongin National University of Education (South Korea), Osaka University (Japan), University of Canberra (Australia), Chiang Mai University (Thailand), National Institute of Education (Singapore).

Project Start Year: 2020, Principal Investigator(s): HALSE CHRISTINE MARGARET , JACKSON, Liz null (ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲 as Co-Investigator)
Writing from the Start: The Writing Readiness Skills in Early Writing Development for L1 and L2 Chinese Speaking Kindergarten Children
Project Start Year: 2019, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲
The Copy Cat Project: Using Environmental Print to Enhance Literacy and Print Motivation Amongst L2 Chinese Speaking Preschool Children, Focusing Especially on Those Who Are Experiencing Low Levels of Socio-economic Status
Project Start Year: 2017, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲
How do ethnic minority children acquire Chinese as a second language in Hong Kong local kindergarten?
Project Start Year: 2016, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲
Dialogical Reading Programme on Chinese Language and Emergent Literacy Learning in Ethnic Minority Preschool Children in Hong Kong
The proposed study aims to examine the training effects of a dialogic reading programme, coupled with or without morphological and orthographic skills, on Chinese language and emergent literacy skills in ethnic minority children who are learning Chinese as a second language (L2) in Hong Kong preschools. For young Chinese preschool L2 children living in Hong Kong, at least two challenges lie that hamper their progress in Chinese learning. First, they are acquiring oral language at the same time as their emergent literacy skills. Second, they lack the home language and literacy environment of Chinese. Therefore, to a large extent, their Chinese learning relies on the learning they acquire from the preschool. The age-related characteristics of preschool children do not allow them learn L2 like older children or adults. Therefore, this study proposes the implementation of a dialogic programme that primarily promotes very young children’s general language skills, both with or without specific training of morphological and orthographic skills—two core metalinguistic skills essential in Chinese early literacy development. A total of 120 K2 (age 4–5 years) L2 Chinese young learners will be recruited from local Hong Kong kindergartens. Three training groups will be formed: one group will have a dialogic reading programme only, the second group will experience a dialogic reading programme coupled with morphological skills training, and the third group will have a dialogic programme coupled with orthographic skill training. Three full-time undergraduates who major in early childhood education will be employed and trained to deliver the three training programmes. Each group will consist of four to five children, and all groups will meet once a week for a total of 12 weekly training sessions. All children will be assessed in terms of their Chinese oral language skills, metalinguistic skills, and other reading-related cognitive skills before and after the training sessions. The children’s views on their language progress through the programme, as well as those of their teachers and parents, will be taken into consideration in evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention.
Project Start Year: 2016, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲
Development of Visual, Visual-motor and Orthographic Skills in Chinese Emergent Literacy
The proposed project aims to address two essential questions regarding orthographic
development in Chinese emergent literacy. What is the role of visual-motor skills in
Chinese orthographic development at the emergent literacy stage? How do young
Chinese children development their visual, visual-motor and orthographic skills? These questions will be answered using cross-sectional methods.
In the last two decades, reading research examining early precursors of Chinese word
reading has provided evidence demonstrating the important roles of visual, motor and
orthographic skills in Chinese word reading and writing development. However, some
researchers have argued that the basic visual skills only contributed to Chinese word
reading to a certain level, orthographic skills become more salient skills in later stages of Chinese reading acquisition. Others argue that visual-motor skills have indeed played a more significant role in early literacy development. Yet, the actual contribution of visual and motor skills in Chinese orthographic development in emergent literacy was little examined. Additionally, most of the evidence that has demonstrated the importance of visual, motor, and orthographic skills in Chinese reading and writing has come from older children. Thus, the construct of visual, motor and orthographic skills in emergent literacy development remains unclear.
The proposed project aims to fill this research gap by vouching for the role of visual and visual motor skills in Chinese orthographic development at the emergent literacy stage. Such evidence for visual and visual-motor, and orthographic development in emergent reading will have widespread implications for word reading models such as the stage theory of word reading (Ehri, 2005; 2014) and the triangle model of word reading (Seidenberg & McClelland, 1989), which do not assume the active role of visual andmotor skills in orthographic development.

Project Start Year: 2015, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲
Visual, Orthographic and Motor Skills in Emergent Readers of Chinese as a L1 and L2 in Hong Kong Kindergartens: Behavioural and Event-related Potential (EPR) Approaches
Hong Kong children are instructed to acquire literacy skills at the beginning of the preschool (Chan, Cheng, & Chang, 2012; Tse, Li, Luo & Chan, 2013). Despite of a growing body of research identified the importance of visual, orthographic and motor skills in Chinese children’s literacy development, very few research has systematically examined these orthographic related skills in very young children. In addition, there is a growing young population of L2 Chinese learners both in Hong Kong and other places in the world. There is an urgent research needs examining these identified core skills to Chinese emergent literacy development calling from both educators and researchers (Tse, Li, Luo & Chan, 2013). The proposed study will examine the developmental patterns of these Chinese orthography related skills in L1 and L2 Chinese young children and identify similarities and differences of these skills in L1 and L2 young learners. Both behaviorual data and EPR data will be collected. The results from both behavioural and EPR measures will help determine the nature of these orthography related skills in Chinese emergent literacy and provide evidence for early intervention of reading development in native and non-native Chinese speaking preschool children in Hong Kong kindergartens.
Project Start Year: 2014, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲
Processes of children’s literacy acquisition in Chinese as a second language
In the proposed study, we will examine correlates of early word reading and writing skills in 150 second grade Hong Kong children from Nepalese, Pakistani, or Indian backgrounds who are learning Chinese (Cantonese) as a second language and as the medium of instruction at school. These associations will be compared with those 150 native Chinese second grade children from similar family backgrounds (in terms of socio-economic and education statuses). We expect to find that phonological skills, including Pinyin (the phonological coding system used to write Mandarin, which is often taught in these schools) knowledge, will be particularly strongly associated with word reading in second language learners, whereas visuo-orthographic skills will be more strongly associated with literacy performances in first language learners of Chinese. In an experimental study with a subset of these children, children will be taught new characters in one of four ways—control condition, in which children are asked to just look at and say the new character, radical condition, in which the semantic (meaning) and phonetic (sound) radicals are highlighted and associated with previously learned characters to make a clear connection for recall, phonological condition, in which the pronunciation of each character is printed in Roman letters under it when introduced, and copying condition, in which children are asked to write the character to facilitate memory of each. We expect that second language learners of Chinese will benefit more from the phonological and copying conditions relative to the other two, whereas native language learners of Chinese will benefit more from the radical and copying conditions as compared to the control and phonological conditions. Parents’ and children‘s motivations for learning Chinese (and English, by way of comparison) will also be tapped and used to explain literacy performance. Such results will help researchers and educators to understand the cognitive skills and contexts in which Hong Kong children learn Chinese in local schools as a second language, including their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what is particularly motivating and less motivating in this process. These results will also help researchers to understand what the optimal ways of teaching Chinese characters might be for different groups of children. It is possible that children from an alphabetic background learning Chinese will learn differently from native Chinese learners. If this is the case, educators should understand these differences and incorporate them into early Chinese literacy teaching.
Project Start Year: 2014, Principal Investigator(s): Prof. McBride-Chang, Catherine A (ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲 as Co-Investigator)
Metalingusitic Skills and Vocabulary Acquisition in Preschool Children Learning Chinese as a Second Language
This proposed study examines the associations among cognitive-linguistic skills and Chinese vocabulary knowledge in native and non-native Chinese speaking bilingual children at Hong Kong international preschools. My PhD study on a overview of how children learn to read and write Chinese as a second language in third and fourth graders in Hong Kong international schools. The finding of my study has opened up a new research line and asked more questions than it has answered. One crucial question is that how L2 Chinese young learners develop their vocabulary knowledge and how different metalingusitic skills may have contributed to their vocabulary acquisition. I proposed to run a pilot study testing 100 (half native and half non-native Chinese speaking) 4 to 5 year olds from Hong Kong international preschools. Children from such schools have strong proficiency in English (otherwise, they would not be admitted), and all study Chinese on a daily basis as part of the core curriculum. My project first examines language background and home exposure to literacy in English and Chinese. I will then investigate a series of early language and literacy skills in both English and Chinese and their associations with some metalinguistic and cognitive skills in these children. This project may help to elucidate Chinese literacy trajectories for those coming from an alphabetic language speaking background.
Project Start Year: 2013, Principal Investigator(s): ZHOU, Yanling 周彥玲