Reading in Asian Languages: Making Sense of Written Texts in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean – Ken Goodman, Shaomei Wang, Mieko Shimizu Iventosch, and Yetta Goodman. Routledge. (2012).

Description:  (from the publisher) Reading in Asian Languages: Making Sense of Written Texts in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean is rich with information about how literacy works in the non-alphabetic writing systems (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) used by hundreds of millions of people and refutes the common Western belief that such systems are hard to learn or to use. The contributors share a comprehensive view of reading as construction of meaning which they show is fully applicable to character-based reading.

The book explains how and why non-alphabetic writing works well for its users; provides explanations for why it is no more difficult for children to learn than are alphabetic writing systems where they are used; and demonstrates in a number of ways that there is a single process of making sense of written language regardless of the orthography. Unique in its perspective and offering practical theory-based methodology for the teaching of literacy in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to first and second language learners, it is a useful resource for teachers of increasingly popular courses in these languages in North America as well as for teachers and researchers in Asia. It will stimulate innovation in both research and instruction.

This volume was in development for at least a decade. Many graduate students and faculty in reading research and Asian second language research and curriculum have helped to shape this book. In 2009, all four authors were part of a summer institute organized by CERCLL entitled Exploring Universals in the Reading Process: Applications Across Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The manuscript in its developing form was part of the curriculum.

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