Chinese L2 Literacy Development: Cognitive Characteristics, Learning Strategies, and Pedagogical Interventions


Correspondence address: Helen Shen, University of Iowa. E-mail:


The field of Chinese L2 education has expanded rapidly in the past two decades. It has become a central research agenda for Chinese L2 scholars to seek answers to the question of how western learners learn to read logographic writing that is drastically different from their native languages in orthography. This paper approaches this question by focusing on the core issue of literacy development: character learning. The discussion covers the aspects of the cognitive characteristics of learners' development of their metalinguistic awareness in Chinese, the strategies they employed in the process of learning to read and write Chinese characters, and the optimum pedagogical practices to facilitate character learning.