Whereas many studies point to a positive relationship between phonological skills and reading in English, little is known about these relationships for children learning to read in a morphemic orthography such as Chinese. The aim of this study was to examine the relationships among reading ability, phonological, semantic and syntactic skills in Chinese. The participants were 196 grade 1 to grade 4 Chinese children in Hong Kong. A word recognition task in Chinese was developed and children who scored in the lowest quartile were classified as poor readers. The children were administered phonological tasks (tone and rhyming discrimination), semantic tasks (choosing similar words and sentences meanings), a syntactic task (oral cloze), and a working memory task. The results showed that word recognition was highly correlated with phonological skills and semantic processing, and was only moderately related to syntactic knowledge and working memory. Poor readers showed a significant lag in the development of these skills with the most significant problems at the phonological and semantic levels. Phonological skills are important to the acquisition of reading skills in both Chinese and English.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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