Syntactic skills in sentence reading 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


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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    • "But this is more of a sentence completion task rather than a direct test of syntactic processing. Chik et al. (2012) included several measures of syntactic processing in a study of reading comprehension in Grades 1 and 2 Chinese children. In a hierarchical multiple regression equation, age, IQ and Chinese word reading accounted for 64% of the individual variation while composite syntactic skills added a significant 4% of the variation. "
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of the present study was to test opposing views about 4 issues concerning predictors of individual differences in Chinese written composition: (a) whether morphological awareness, syntactic processing, and working memory represent distinct and measureable constructs in Chinese or are just manifestations of general language ability; (b) whether they are important predictors of Chinese written composition and, if so, the relative magnitudes and independence of their predictive relations; (c) whether observed predictive relations are mediated by text comprehension; and (d) whether these relations vary or are developmentally invariant across 3 years of writing development. Based on analyses of the performance of students in Grades 4 (n ! 246), 5 (n ! 242), and 6 (n ! 261), the results supported morphological awareness, syntactic processing, and working memory as distinct yet correlated abilities that made independent contributions to predicting Chinese written composition, with working memory as the strongest predictor. However, predictive relations were mediated by text comprehension. The final model accounted for approximately 75% of the variance in Chinese written composition. The results were largely developmentally invariant across the 3 grades from which participants were drawn.
    Journal of Educational Psychology 03/2014; 106(3). DOI:10.1037/a0035984 · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    • "It is hoped that this task can assess the translation of ideas in a more direct way than the oral vocabulary knowledge measure used in most previous studies. Syntactic skills were assessed by a word order knowledge task (Chik et al., 2011) that was found to predict Chinese text reading. In addition to these measures, measures of orthographic awareness and morphological awareness, significant predictors of writing at word level (i.e., word spelling) in Chinese (Chan et al., 2006; Tong et al., 2009; Yeung et al., 2011b), were included for conceptualizing Chinese writing development at both word and text levels. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study is a four-year longitudinal study examining the important predictors of writing of 340 Chinese children in elementary grades. Children's transcription skills (handwriting skills and spelling), and syntactic skills in grade 1 were significant predictors of text writing in grade 1-4 while ideation in grade 1 only contributed to text writing in grade 2. Stroke order knowledge was shown as an important handwriting skill in Chinese reflecting the characteristics of the Chinese orthography. A model of Chinese writing in early elementary grades was proposed. In the model, orthographic knowledge, morphological awareness and handwriting skills are proposed to contribute to spelling which is correlated with text writing. Handwriting skills, ideation, and syntactic skills were found to contribute to text writing. Path analysis results suggest that the longitudinal relationship between spelling and text writing is bidirectional.
    Reading and Writing 08/2013; 26(7):1195-1221. DOI:10.1007/s11145-012-9411-6 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the relative contribution of syntactic awareness to Chinese reading among Chinese-speaking adolescent readers with and without dyslexia. A total of 78 junior high school students in Hong Kong, 26 dyslexic adolescent readers, 26 average adolescent readers of the same age (chronological age control group) and 26 younger readers matched with the same reading level (reading-level group) participated and were administered measures of IQ, syntactic awareness, morphological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, working memory, word reading, and reading comprehension. Results showed that dyslexic readers scored significantly lower than chronological age but similarly to reading level control groups in most measures, especially in the areas of syntactic skills. Analyses of individual data also revealed that over half of the dyslexic readers exhibited certain aspects of deficits in syntactic skills. In regression analyses, syntactic skills were the strongest predictors of ability in word reading and reading comprehension measures. This study highlights the uniquely important correlates of syntactic skills in Chinese reading acquisition and impairment. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Dyslexia 02/2013; 19(1):11-36. DOI:10.1002/dys.1448 · 1.12 Impact Factor
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