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Applied Psychology &  Human Development
Xi Becky Chen

Xi Becky Chen
Associate Professor

phone: (416) 978-0970 
email: xi.chen.bumgardner@utoronto.ca   
email: xchenbumgardner@gmail.com 
website: http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/chenlab 

Department: Applied Psychology and Human Development 


Research Overview 

Dr. Chen's research focuses on bilingual and ELL (English Language Learner) childrens language and literacy development. She is interested in how children develop literacy skills (e.g. morphological awareness, phonological awareness, orthographic processing, visual perception and memory, vocabulary, word reading, and reading comprehension) simultaneously in their first language and second language, and whether these skills transfer between the two languages. Currently, she is running a five-year SSHRC insight grant in French immersion programs in the GTA. This project has three goals: 1) identify at-risk readers in French immersion, 2) compare the development of English and French literacy skills between children who are native speakers of English and those who speak another language at home, and 3) examine transfer of literacy skills between English and French. She was also the principal investigator of a SSHRC standard research project that compares the development of literacy skills between Chinese-speaking ELLs and Spanish-speaking ELLs. The project examined the effects of first language characteristics (Chinese vs. Spanish) on English learning. Finally, she conducts cross-cultural studies comparing the development of Chinese literacy skills between Chinese-speaking children in Canada and children in China. In applied practice, she is interested in helping children with reading disabilities.

Curriculum Vitae 


Representative Publications 

Liu, P. D., Chen, X., Chung, K. K.-H., & Wang, Y., (2015). The role of visual-spatial attention in Chinese children’s reading abilities. Scientific Studies of Reading, 19, 307-324.

Wise, N., & Chen, X., (2015). Early intervention for struggling readers in grade one French immersion. Canadian Modern Language Review, 71, 288-306.

Stich, M., Girolametto, L., Johnson, C. J., Cleave, P.L. & Chen, X. (2015). Contextual effects on the conversations of mothers and their children with SLI. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36, 323-344.

Au-Yeung, K., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Chen, X., Pasquarella, A., D’Angelo, N., Deacon, H., (2015). Development of English and French language and literacy skills in EL1 and ELL French immersion students in the early grades. Reading Research Quarterly, 50, 233-254.

Pasquarella, A., Chen, X., Gottardo, A., & Geva, E., (2015). Common and language-specific processes in word reading accuracy and fluency: Comparing cross-language transfer between Spanish-English and Chinese-English bilinguals. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107, 96-110.

Welcome, S. E., Pasquarella, A., Chen, X., Olson, D. R., & Joanisse, M. F., (2014). Preserved mid-fusiform activation for visual words in a patient with pure alexia. Neuropsychologia, 65, 113-124.

D’Angelo, N., Hipfner-Boucher, K., & Chen, X. (2014). Poor Comprehenders in French Immersion: implications for identification and instruction. Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 40, 32-37.

Jia, F., Gottardo, A., Koh, P., Chen, X., & Pasquarella, A., (2014). The role of acculturation in reading a second language: Its relation to English literacy skills in immigrant Chinese adolescents. Reading Research Quarterly, 49, 251-261.

Hipfner-Boucher, K., Lam, K., & Chen, X. (2014). The effects of bilingual education on the English language and literacy outcomes of Chinese-speaking children. Written Language & Literacy, 17, 116-138

Luo, Y., Chen, X., & Geva, E. (2014). Concurrent and longitudinal cross-linguistic transfer of phonological awareness and morphological awareness in Chinese-English bilingual children. Written Language & Literacy, 17, 89-115.

Research Grants and Contracts 

2015-2017 SSHRC Insight Development Grant, Dynamic Assessment of Early Immersion Literacy Learning Competences: A Cross-linguistic and Cross-national Perspective, PI
2015-2017 General Research Fund (GRF), Hong Kong, Unfolding the role of morphological awareness in word learning of Chinese children. Co-PI, with Phil Duo Liu (PI) at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and Hong Li (Co-PI) at Beijing Normal University
2014-2019 SSHRC Insight Grant, The Process of Learning to Read in English: the Unique Challenges Faced by Chinese-English Speaking Learners, Co-PI, with Alexandra Gottardo (PI) at Wilfrid Laurier University, Fataneh Farnia (Co-PI) at University of Toronto, Jeffery Jones and Eileen Wood (Co-PIs) at Wilfrid Laurier University
2013-2018 SSHRC Insight Grant, Ensuring Reading Success for All Students in Early French immersion, PI, with Helene Deacon at Dalhousie University, Stefka Marinova-Todd at University of British Columbia (Co-PIs), and Donald Compton at Vanderbilt University