Developing Academic Literacy in a Second Language through Reading across the Curriculum

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In Hong Kong where the population is predominantly Chinese speaking, English is one of the official languages and is learnt and taught as a second language in school. Not only is English taught as a subject in the school curriculum, it is also used as a medium of instruction in teaching other content subjects like biology, history and geography in selected schools. To meet the demand and challenges of learning concepts in English, it is imperative that students studying in these selected schools be highly proficient in literacy skills in English, in particular academic literacy skills.

A project was implemented in Hong Kong schools to promote reading across the curriculum in the hope that students would develop academic literacy skills and interest in reading. This presentation will focus on the evaluation of this project in terms of its impact on students and teachers.

The presentation will begin with an introduction on the principles of and rationale behind reading across the curriculum and its relationships with academic literacy. Then the effects of the project on students’ reading achievement and teachers’ instructional practices and perception of reading instruction will be presented. The challenges teachers come across in developing academic literacy in English through reading across the curriculum and their coping strategies will be addressed. The presentation will conclude with a discussion on the implications of the findings on future initiatives to promote academic literacy through reading across the curriculum.


Keywords: Reading across the Curriculum, Second Language, Academic Literacy, Secondary Education, Hong Kong
Stream: Literacy, Language, Multiliteracies; Languages Education and Second Language Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Cecilia K. W. Chun

Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, 0000, Hong Kong

Cecilia K.W. Chun is Associate Professor of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has extensive experience in the training and education of English teachers working in both primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong. Her research interest includes teaching of second language reading and writing, language in education and second language teacher education.

Carol W. H. Lai

Research Assistant, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Miss Carol W. H. Lai is a qualified teacher of English in Hong Kong. She is currently working as a Research Assistant for a project on reading across the curriculum. Her research interests are reading across the curriculum, task-based teaching and learning, learning English as a second language, teaching of language skills and educational psychology.

Ref: L09P1420