Previous studies have not distinguished different types of characters when examining how phonological and semantic-related skills are related to Chinese reading. In this study, Chinese characters were categorized into semantic-phonetic compound and noncompound characters. In the category of semantic-phonetic compound characters, two subtypes were subdivided into regular and irregular compound characters according to the reliability of phonetic radicals. Hong Kong second graders were tested on character reading, phonological awareness and three levels of semantic-related skills (semantic radical awareness, morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge). Students' age and nonverbal IQ were controlled. The results revealed that all of the three levels of semantic-related skills were significant predictors of reading all types of characters. In contrast, phonological awareness was important only for reading two types of characters, i.e., noncompound characters and regular compound characters. The results have implications for theories of reading concerning the relative roles of phonological and semantic-related skills.
Learning and Individual Differences – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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