Syntactic skills in sentence reading comprehension among Chinese elementary school children

Reading and Writing (Impact Factor: 1.44). 03/2011; 25(3):679-699. DOI: 10.1007/s11145-010-9293-4

ABSTRACT The present study examined the role of syntactic skills for reading comprehension in Chinese. Two hundred and seventy-two
Chinese children were tested on their phonological processing, orthographic, morphological, syntactic, and literacy skills
at Grades 1 and 2. Hierarchical multiple regression results showed that syntactic skills, in terms of word order, connective
usage, and knowledge of morphosyntactic structure (measured by an oral cloze task) in Grade 1, significantly predicted sentence
reading comprehension in Grade 2 after controlling for the children’s age, IQ, and word level reading-related cognitive skills
in Grade 1, and word reading in Grade 2. As in alphabetic languages, syntactic skills are essential for reading comprehension
in Chinese. The unique roles of individual syntactic skills for understanding sentences in Chinese are discussed.

KeywordsReading comprehension–Chinese–Syntactic skills

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