Our lab’s research unifies three psycholinguistic areas—speech perception and production, language learning, and reading acquisition—and focuses on (1) understanding the mechanism that enables children to crack suprasegmental speech and orthographic codes in two different languages to formulate speech-print associations in the process of becoming biliterate; (2) uncovering the links between oral language skills and literacy outcomes; and (3) promoting an integration of speech-language-literacy in clinical and educational practice for bilingual children.
These three avenues of research involve bilingual children, children with developmental dyslexia, children with autistic spectrum disorders, and children with reading comprehension difficulties. We aim to understand specific language and literacy disorders at three different levels: cognitive, linguistic, and social-behavioural. In particular, we explore the basic prerequisite skills underlying rapid language and literacy acquisition. Our lab’s most significant research contribution to these three areas posits four original theoretical models (i.e., TTRACE, BIPS, NCCP, and PLSM) that advance our understanding of the mechanism underlying bilingual suprasegmental speech perception, language learning, and biliteracy acquisition. Additionally, they inform clinicians and educators about the links between early speech and language impairments and later reading comprehension difficulties. These four models are described in the sections that follow.
1. TTRACE Model
Figure 1. The TTRACE model for speech perception of tonal languages (Tong, McBride, & Burnham, 2014, JLSH)
2. NCCP Model
Figure 2. Non-native Chinese character processing model (Tong, Kwan, Wong, Lee, & Yip, 2015)
3. Statistical Learning of Orthographic Regularities
Figure 3. A model of statistical learning of Chinese orthographic regularities (He & Tong, 2017, SSR)
4. A Graded Psycho-lexical Space Mapping Model of Chinese Character Processing
Figure 4. Graded psycho-lexcial space mapping model of Chinese character processing (Tong & McBride, 2018)