The current study examined how Chinese characters were taught by primary grade teachers in Macao during online instruction resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., emergency remote instruction). A random sample of 313 first to third grade teachers in public and private schools were surveyed about their instructional practices. Most teachers surveyed (72%) reported they taught a lesson about Chinese characters once every 3–4 weeks during emergency remote instruction, and 83% and 81% of teachers indicated they assigned homework for writing and reading characters, respectively, at the same rate. On average, they reportedly spent 97 min per week teaching students to write, read, and understand the meaning of new characters, devoting equal time to each of these skills. They also indicated students practiced writing and reading characters in class for 40 min per week. They further noted students were expected to spend 35 min a day practicing writing and reading characters for homework. While teachers reportedly used a variety of instructional practices for teaching characters (M = 30.38), the typical teacher applied less than one-half (N = 64) of practices assessed. Teachers reported use of asynchronous (online learning activities which can be completed at other times) and synchronous (real-time videos and audio/text) teaching methods and perceptions of adequacy of technical support predicted reported teaching practices. The findings from this study raise questions about the teaching of Chinese characters in Macao during emergency remote instruction.
Learning to write is one of the great challenges children face in primary grades, requiring both transcription skills (handwriting and spelling) and executive functions (EFs; working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility). Although this claim is widely accepted, the field suffers from some limitations, including few longitudinal studies examining the joint role of transcription and EFs in the writing of school-age children. The current study aimed to fill in this gap with a twofold goal: to examine the development of transcription and EFs in Portuguese children transitioning from primary (Grade 4) to intermediate school (Grade 5); and to evaluate the longitudinal and concurrent links between transcription and EFs to text quality. The sample included 222 Portuguese students in Grade 4, who were reassessed one year later, in Grade 5. Results showed significant improvements from Grade 4 to 5 in handwriting and spelling as well as in verbal working memory and cognitive flexibility. Moreover, though spelling and cognitive flexibility in Grade 4 had longitudinally predicted text quality in Grade 5, these links disappeared when Grade 5 predictors were considered. In the final model, only transcription skills along with cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control in Grade 5 were significant predictors of text quality in Grade 5. These findings show that transcription and EFs play a role in writing and suggest that this role might be more concurrent than longitudinal.
Children’s early knowledge and skills set the stage for later reading development. The present studies examined children’s conceptual knowledge of reading prior to formal literacy instruction. Young children’s knowledge about who is able to read books and what readers are reading when they read books has been studied primarily through interviews. However, conclusions from this research are limited by methodological concerns. In three experiments with a total of 105 U.S. preschoolers (ages 3 years, 1 month to 5 years, 5 months) we examined whether prereaders understand what part of a book is read, who can read, and who engages in reading. We created storybooks for Experiments 1 and 2, asking children questions about the print and what parts of a book an adult can read. In Experiment 3, we asked children questions about pictures of animals and adults looking at books. Although prereaders could generally locate letters and words in a book, they were still learning that it is this print, not the pictures, which a reader reads. Prereaders knew that adults but not animals have the ability to read, but many also indicated that engaging in the activity of reading does not require the ability to read. Children who cannot read are still in the process of learning that print is what a reader reads and that engaging in reading requires a special skill. Therefore, when formal literacy instruction begins, teachers should not overestimate the knowledge about print and reading that children have acquired from prior exposure to books.
Computer-assisted textual enhancement (CATE) technology has been widely used to improve English as foreign language (EFL) learners’ syntactical and grammatical learning. Visual attention, repetition, and prior knowledge are known as the vital factors in CATE-assisted knowledge-acquisition; however, there still lacks a model which can describe those factors’ intrinsic cooperating-mechanism that works in the CATE-based knowledge-acquisition. Therefore, this paper built up a computational model (PESE) of using those factors as variables, by fitting and predicting the data collected from empirical experiments with an average accuracy of 78%, PESE testified and complemented the assumptions proposed by previous studies. PESE suggested that although the efficacy of CATE is majorly decided by learners’ prior-knowledge of the targets, the interactive effects of visual-attention, repetition, and inductive activity could partly compensate for the effect from prior-knowledge, and the efficacy ceiling of repetition also could be estimated according to the ‘easy-perceiving level’ coefficient. At the end of this paper, 3 pedagogical implications were proposed for English teachers who are willing to integrate CATE into their teaching activities.
The notion of sentencehood in Mandarin Chinese is much less well-defined than in many other languages, with a block of clauses often joined by commas without conjunctions and with the period often occurring at the end of a block of clauses to indicate meaning completeness rather than the completeness of a sentential structure. The potential factors that may affect native Chinese speakers' judgment of meaning completeness and perception of sentence boundaries have not yet been systematically examined. In light of this research gap, this study investigates the factors that may play a role in native Chinese speakers' sentence boundary perception. To this end, we conducted text re-punctuation experiments in two separate groups, a training group and a testing group, using different stimuli texts. The stimuli texts were annotated with multiple levels of linguistic information to identify potentially relevant variables that could affect the participants' sentence boundary perception. Logistic regression and the Bayesian statistical methods were applied to test the potential effects of multiple variables on the participants' responses. The logistic regression model trained on the data from the training group achieved a high level of accuracy in predicting the responses by the testing group. The model revealed a more important role of semantic information than syntactic information in the participants' sentence boundary perception. The implications of our findings for understanding the perception of Chinese sentence boundaries are discussed.
This study examined the effects of early phonological training on emergent phonological and reading skills. Children (N = 364) were randomly assigned in small groups to a phonological training group (n = 117), or a control group (n = 247) including both a non-phonological training group and a non-trained control group. The phonological training began three years before the formal reading instruction starts in Sweden. It was carried out in two waves during six weeks at the age of 4, and during six weeks at the age of 5. All children, including the control children, received phonological training in kindergarten at the age of 6. Fluid intelligence (Gf) and phonological awareness at age 4 predicted phonological awareness at age 6 as well as reading related skills in grades 2 and 3. There were substantial main effects of the early phonological training on phonological skills and early reading skills. For all outcomes the training was, furthermore, most beneficial for children low on Gf, who are in the risk zone of developing reading difficulties.
Many middle school students perform below grade-level standards in reading (National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, 2019), and recent observation studies demonstrate middle school teachers’ limited use of reading comprehension practices within content area instruction (e.g., science and social studies; as reported by Greenleaf (in: Hinchman (ed) Adolescent literacies: A handbook of practice-based research, Guilford Press, 2017)). In this experimental pilot study, we aimed to boost middle schoolers’ reading comprehension outcomes by providing schoolwide professional development (PD) on integrating reading comprehension practices within content instruction for English language arts, social studies, and science teachers. Six schools were matched into pairs and randomized to the schoolwide PD or a business-as-usual (BAU) condition. Content area teachers in schools assigned to the PD condition received distributed PD resources to support implementation, and coaching in one reading comprehension practice in the fall (i.e., get the gist) and one in the spring (i.e., asking and answering questions). Contrary to traditional PD, this PD was implemented across three content areas, was narrow in scope but long in duration (one practice per semester), focused on practices that could feasibly be integrated into content area instruction, and included ongoing coaching in content area teams. Students in schools assigned to the PD condition significantly outperformed those in the BaU condition on a measure of main idea generation (ES = 0.29) but not on measures of asking and answering questions (ES = 0.11) and general reading comprehension (ES = − 0.09). Findings suggest promise for implementing schoolwide approaches embedded within content area instruction to improve reading comprehension performance for middle school students.
In the context of the critical need to support children’s early language development, teacher knowledge may enhance children’s opportunities to build linguistic skills. In this study we explored how early childhood teachers’ (n = 86) pedagogical content knowledge for language and vocabulary, and their book-reading implementation across the school year independently and jointly predicted children’s (n = 582; mean age = 49.76 months, SD = 7.06) growth and spring status on five standardized measures of vocabulary and syntax. Results indicated modest book-reading durations, on average, but also variability across teachers. Whereas there were limited or no main effects for book reading or teacher knowledge there were significant moderation effects in 6 of 10 models when predicting spring status and in 5 of 10 models when predicting growth. Findings suggest that longer fall book readings may be especially beneficial when teachers have low pedagogical knowledge, but that this pattern does not apply later in the school year. We discuss implications for future research, for understanding the constructs of knowledge and their role in authentic classroom practices, and for professional development.
The associations among readers’ cognitive skills (general cognitive ability, reading skills, and attentional functioning), task demands (easy versus difficult questions), and process measures (total fixation time on relevant and irrelevant paragraphs) was investigated to explain task-oriented reading accuracy and efficiency (number of scores in a given time unit). Structural equation modeling was applied to a large dataset collected with sixth-grade students, which included samples of dysfluent readers and those with attention difficulties. The results are in line with previous findings regarding the dominant role of general cognitive ability in the accuracy of task-oriented reading. However, efficiency in task-oriented reading was mostly explained by the shorter viewing times of both paragraph types (i.e., relevant and irrelevant), which were modestly explained by general cognitive ability and reading fluency. These findings suggest that high efficiency in task orientation is obtained by relying on a selective reading strategy when reading both irrelevant and relevant paragraphs. The selective reading strategy seems to be specifically learned, and this potentially applies to most students, even those with low cognitive abilities.
The current study examined the extent to which sixth grade students used their pre-existing topic beliefs to guide comprehension of semantic ideas within multiple conflicting texts, and the sources providing them. Adolescents completed an inventory assessing their pre-reading topic beliefs one week prior to the study. During the study, students read 6 controversial texts, completed an assessment of their metacognitive awareness during reading, and wrote an essay from memory based on information provided by the texts. A between-participants manipulation tasked adolescents to read opposing stances in an alternating format, or to read all arguments for one side prior to switching to the opposing arguments. Regarding the results, the extent of adolescents’ pro-vegetarian topic beliefs predicted their taking a pro-vegetarian stance, inclusion of more belief-consistent and fewer belief-inconsistent (pro-meat) ideas, and fewer mentions of sources in the essays. The extent of adolescents’ topic beliefs also positively predicted expressions of metacognitive awareness during reading. When contradictory stances were experienced in an alternating format, adolescents included more source information in their written essays than when they read all arguments for one side prior to switching to the opposing arguments. The findings have important implications for theories of multiple text comprehension and applications for adolescents’ everyday reading experiences on the web.
Executive functions (EF) have been theoretically implicated in multiple text comprehension. Yet, the contributions of EFs to comprehension and integration of multiple texts have not been tested empirically, and instructional supports for text integration grounded in EFs are only beginning to be developed. Using a conflicting-text paradigm, this study examined the roles of EFs, based on measures of learners’ reported EF use and EF skills, and a text-embedded intervention, designed to elicit readers’ EF and metacognitive engagement, in comprehension–integration of conflicting informational texts. Structural equation modeling was employed to test a proposed indirect effects model in which EF use and skills and the text intervention condition predicted comprehension–integration, both directly and via reported cross-text elaboration; academic achievement was controlled. Learners’ reported EF use contributed directly and indirectly to learners’ comprehension–integration of the conflicting texts; EF skills, based on a measure of verbal fluency, contributed only indirectly to comprehension–integration. The effect of condition on comprehension–integration was transmitted entirely through learners’ reported use of cross-text elaboration strategies. The model explained 15% and 16% of the variance in reported cross-text elaboration and comprehension–integration, respectively, suggesting moderate effects of EFs and the brief, text-embedded intervention on comprehension–integration of the texts. Empirical and theoretical implications are discussed.
Studies investigating relations between morphological awareness and literacy in German, a language with a rather transparent but asymmetric orthography, are sparse. Little is known about the role of grade level for these relationships and of their relative strength compared to those between other language-related variables and literacy skills. This cross-sectional study was conducted with German-speaking second-, third- and fourth-graders ( n of final sample ≥ 85 per grade). Morphological awareness tasks required the production of inflections, derivations and compounds. Additionally, phonological processing, vocabulary, reading fluency, reading comprehension and spelling were measured. Factor analyses revealed two facets of morphological awareness: morphological fluency and morphological awareness for pseudowords. These were correlated with both reading and spelling skills in all grades. More literacy variables were related to morphological fluency in Grade 4 than in Grades 2 and 3. In regression analyses, variance in literacy skills was predominantly explained by phonological awareness. Morphological awareness did not explain additional variance. The results reveal that different facets of morphological awareness are related to literacy skills in German primary school children. Despite the asymmetry of German orthography, no evidence was found for differences in the association of morphological awareness with spelling versus reading. Phonological processing shows stronger relations with literacy than morphological awareness does. This might indicate that in the transparent German orthography, alphabetic reading and spelling strategies are particularly relevant until the end of Grade 4. Yet, morphological fluency might start to unfold its relevance for reading and spelling near the end of fourth grade in German.
Professional development (PD) of teachers working with students in the first years of learning to read is a privileged way of preventing initial reading difficulties and its effects in the long and short term. This research studies the effects of PD in student reading performance, although the results are not conclusive with regard to which PD format is more adequate. The objective of this study is to determine which modality (face-to-face with a coach vs. without a coach) and intensity (number of contact hours) of PD are more efficient in achieving fluency improvement in student performance in the code-focussed skills in the first years of learning to read. Both pre-schoolers and their teachers took part in the study with a quasi-experimental pre-test post-test design. The experimental group (n = 71) was provided literacy instruction from teachers (n = 8) who received 40 h of face-to-face training with a coach and the control group (n = 29) was provided literacy instruction from teachers (n = 8) who received only 8 h of initial training (without coaching). The results showed significant intra-group improvements with a large reduction in students at risk for reading difficulties. No significant differences were obtained between groups in reading performance. This suggests greater efficiency in a lower intensity format of PD without a coach in the development of code-focussed skills. The study considers the need to adequately assess reading ability in the light of attitude and motivation of teachers as variables which influence the efficiency of PD.
Previous research reported bilingual cognitive strengths in working memory, executive function and novel-word learning skills (Bialystok in Psychol Bull 143:233–262, 2017; Kaushanskaya and Marian in Psychon Bull Rev 16:705–710, 2009). These skills should also support bilingual children’s vocabulary and reading development, yet bilingual children show weaknesses in their second language vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Our primary aim was to clarify these seemingly paradoxical reports by investigating the cognitive strengths and weaknesses associated with both bilingual experience and reading comprehension in a single study. The participants were 102 English-speaking monolingual children and 104 Hindi/Urdu-English speaking bilingual children (mean age = 118.26 months, SD = 11.23 months) in the UK. We tested children’s vocabulary, working memory, executive function (cognitive inhibition, updating memory), novel-word learning, and reading skills. All testing was conducted in English. The findings supported the previous reports of bilingual cognitive strengths in working memory, novel-word learning and cognitive inhibition skills. However, despite their cognitive strengths and adequate word reading skills, the bilingual group displayed weaker reading comprehension than their monolingual peers. As anticipated, there was a direct association between bilingual children’s smaller English vocabulary size and underperformance on reading comprehension. Along with word reading, vocabulary was the most powerful unique predictor of reading comprehension. The effects of cognitive control skills on reading comprehension were mixed and mostly indirect through word reading skills. These relations were comparable across the monolingual and bilingual groups. Together, our findings highlighted the importance of clear educational policies on oral language assessment and support in our increasingly multilingual classrooms.
Developing writing skills is a central part of the education curriculum in many countries, yet numerous children have difculties in producing written texts. To our knowledge there is no systematic study examining the ways in which Greek teachers adapt their writing instruction strategies to accommodate the children’s needs. The
aim of the present study was to identify the approaches teachers employ while teaching writing in Greek primary schools and to examine the nature and frequency of these diferent aspects of teaching writing. We replicated and extended the Dockrell
et al. (Read Writ Interdiscip J 29(3):409–434, 2016) study, using the Not so Simple
View of Writing framework. One hundred and three teachers responded to an online
questionnaire, which consisted of questions regarding their academic qualifcations
and their specifc teaching practices. The majority of the sample felt prepared and
enjoyed teaching writing. However, almost all of the teachers found teaching writing
challenging and half of them reported that supporting struggling writers was diffcult for them. Overall, teachers reported more work at word level, occurring almost
weekly, than at text level. Diferences between Grade levels they taught were also
evident for specifc domains of writing. Recommendations for future research and
implications for educational practice are discussed.
Comparing comprehension outcomes in print and digital reading is an active area of research but little is known about the reading processes that these media entail. This study involved an eye-tracking experiment with 50 undergraduate students to investigate the differences in reading processes in print and digital media. The participants were randomly assigned to read the same six-page popular science article that included several diagrams either in print or on a tablet computer and then answer reading comprehension questions. The results showed that comprehension was better when reading in print. Eye-movement data indicated that the print and digital groups spent about the same amount of time processing the article, texts, diagrams, and diagram statements, but the time was not divided evenly between the first pass and the rereading stages. The digital group spent more time reading the article at the first-pass reading stage and seldom reread it. In contrast, the print group first skimmed the article and then reread the important parts, exhibiting both longer total fixation durations in the rereading stage and a higher number of rereading instances across pages. In sum, the findings indicate that reading in print versus digital media employs different cognitive strategies with those reading in print showing more selective and intentional reading behavior.
The goal of the current study was to gain insight into what elements encompass business-as-usual (BAU) reading instruction and to what extent BAU reading instruction includes elements that have been found to positively impact reading competence. In addition, we examined whether and how these evidence-based elements are incorporated and how they cluster. In total, in 52 2nd grade classrooms from 30 schools, reading instruction was systematically observed by a trained student assistant. In 24 of these classrooms, a second co-observer rated the lesson to assess inter-rater reliability. In addition, teachers were asked about content-related aspects of their reading instruction using a questionnaire. The observations showed that BAU reading instruction was predominantly teacher centered and characterized by many phases in which students worked independently. Evidence-based elements of reading instruction were rarely observed. Further, teachers rated their instruction as more differentiated than did observers. Our cluster analysis of evidence-based elements of reading instruction revealed that in BAU reading instruction, various aspects of strategy instruction are primarily implemented together.
Although most studies in the field of literacy development suggest that writing and reading are two sides of the same coin, very little is known about writing in kindergarten in comparison to the vast number of studies on reading. In this study, we explored the connections between writing and reading using correlation and regression analyses conducted on data collected from 60 normally developing Arabic-Speaking kindergartners. Kindergartners’ writing (handwriting and spelling), reading (reading accuracy and reading fluency), and orthographic and fine motor skills were measured. A large correlation was found between writing and reading measures. Separate stepwise regression analyses for writing and reading revealed that the alphabet and orthographic choice tasks were salient predictors of both skills and explained 46% and 57% of the variance in writing and reading, respectively. Surprisingly, the analysis indicated that fine motor skills did not contribute directly to writing or reading. These findings, discussed in relation to previous findings in the literature, confirm the connection between writing and reading and emphasize the role of orthographic knowledge in early writing and reading abilities, among Arabic-speaking kindergarten children.
In the Netherlands, the quality of the reading curriculum is currently under debate because of disappointing results on national and international assessments of students' reading skills and motivation. In a mixed-method study, we analyzed the content of Dutch textbooks for reading comprehension instruction (i.e., the implemented curriculum) and teachers' evaluation and use of these books (i.e., the enacted curriculum). A materials analysis of reading comprehension lessons (N = 80) in eight textbooks for grades 4 and 5 was complemented with semi-structured teacher interviews (N = 29) and lesson observations (N = 11), with a focus on the quality of reading strategy and text structure instruction in the curriculum. Main findings are (1) a lack of alignment between lesson goals, theory, and assignments, (2) a strong focus on practicing strategies, (3) limited declarative knowledge about strategies and text structure, (4) little opportunities for self-regulated strategy application. The teachers that were interviewed mention similar problems, but still hardly deviate from the textbook's content and pedagogical guidelines. We make recommendations to improve the quality of the curriculum.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11145-021-10244-4.
Reading a word requires several component processes. The dual route cascaded (DRC) model provides a characterization of these component processes and their involvement in different reading routes. We tested how relevant precursor skills associated with these component processes predict the use of the sublexical and lexical route in beginning readers of a transparent orthography. More than 100 German first graders performed a battery of tasks tapping into precursor skills associated with the DRC components. Using factor analysis, we first verified that the tasks can be attributed to three sets of skills, capturing visual, sublexical, and lexico-semantic components, as the DRC suggests. We then used these sets of skills to predict differences in the reliance on sublexical and lexical reading in second grade as indicated by length and frequency effects. Results show that the set of sublexical skills in first grade especially predicts differences in the recognition of long frequent words at the end of second grade, whereas the set of lexico-semantic skills predicts differences in the reading of long infrequent words. The findings corroborate the attribution of specific precursor skills to the sublexical and lexical route and reveal their distinct impact on sublexical and lexical reading in beginning readers. The work thus empirically informs the developmental version of the DRC, especially regarding variability in trajectories of reading acquisition.
US students who are blind or have visual impairments do not read at the level of a third-grader with typical sight until, on average, halfway through the seventh grade. As a first step toward narrowing that gap, we investigated levels of linguistic awareness among teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TSBVIs) because research with general education teachers has demonstrated a link between teacher linguistic awareness and student literacy outcomes. We also examined the accuracy of dyslexia beliefs among TSBVIs and whether TSBVI linguistic awareness and dyslexia beliefs are associated with training and experience variables. A survey of licensed or certified TSBVIs (N = 236) in the US revealed that TSBVIs’ understanding of linguistic concepts was comparable to that of educators in previous studies, and TSBVIs’ overall beliefs about dyslexia were more accurate than those of other educators. Linguistic awareness was not associated with training and experience variables, suggesting linguistic awareness is not a focus of reading courses offered to preservice TSBVIs and they do not acquire it in the field. Master’s degree attainment was significantly related to the overall accuracy of TSBVIs’ dyslexia beliefs and years of experience working as a TSBVI was marginally associated with the overall accuracy of TSBVIs’ dyslexia beliefs. Only years of experience diminished the misconception that dyslexia is a visual disorder. Because TSBVIs did not appear to know less about linguistic concepts and dyslexia than other educators, the reading achievement gap between students with visual impairments and students with typical sight is unlikely to be attributable to underdeveloped TSBVI knowledge.
Recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) is a time-series analysis method that uses autocorrelation properties of typing data to detect regularities within the writing process. The following paper first gives a detailed introduction to RQA and its application to time series data. We then apply RQA to keystroke logging data of first and foreign language writing to illustrate how outcome measures of RQA can be understood as skill-driven constraints on keyboard typing performance. Forty native German students performed two prompted writing assignments, one in German and one in English, a standardized copy task, and a standardized English placement test. We assumed more fluent and skilled writing to reveal more structured typing time series patterns. Accordingly, we expected writing in a well-mastered first language to coincide with higher values in relevant RQA measures as compared to writing in a foreign language. Results of mixed model ANOVAs confirmed our hypothesis. We further observed that RQA measures tend to be higher, thus indicating more structured data, whenever parameters of pause, burst, and revision analyses indicate more fluent writing. Multiple regression analyses revealed that, in addition to typing skills, language proficiency significantly predicts outcomes of RQA. Thus, the present data emphasize RQA being a valuable resource for studying time series data that yields meaningful information about the effort a writer must exert during text production.
The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a Tier 2 intervention within the context of the Response to Intervention (RtI) model implemented by Spanish frst- to second-grade primary school teachers to improve at-risk students’ transcription skills. Teachers were instructed in the administration of a writing curriculum-based measure composed of 5 isolates measures (allographs, dictated words with arbitrary spelling or non-ruled, dictated words with rule-based spelling, dictated nonsense words, and dictated sentences) to identify at-risk students and to monitor their progress; and in the implementation of a systematic and explicit instructional program to improve transcription skills in at-risk students. A total of 164 at-risk students from 12 schools from the Canary Islands participated
in the study. Teachers were provided with a support system that included a webbased training program for writing. Implementation fdelity was analyzed using direct observations and self-reports. All students were assessed three times during the academic year. In a hierarchical linear growth modeling procedure, diferences
in growth rates of transcription skills were compared between students who received the intervention, those who did not, and their typically achieving peers. Additionally, the efects of the intervention in the experimental at-risk group were also analyzed, diferentiating between those who left the risk status and those who remained at-risk. Children at-risk in the intervention condition appeared to beneft more in handwriting skills than at-risk children in the control condition, but to a lesser extent in spelling accuracy. Nevertheless, improvements in both transcription skills had only been made in the experimental risk group that had left the risk situation.
Little is known about the impact of teachers’ questions on child bilingual’s heritage language reading process and outcomes. This study examined the role of adults’ questions in English-Mandarin bilingual preschoolers’ Mandarin word learning, story comprehension, and reading engagement. Ninety-nine 4- to 5-year-old preschoolers in Singapore were assigned to one of the three reading conditions: (a) reading with contextualized questions (e.g., labelling), (b) reading with decontextualized questions (e.g., inference), and (c) reading without questions. The experimenters read three storybooks to the children three times over 2 weeks. Children’s general Mandarin proficiency was tested before the intervention, and their target words knowledge and story comprehension were tested before and after the intervention. Children’s reading engagement in each reading was assessed with a modified Child Behavior Rating Scale. The results demonstrate that not all aspects of Mandarin performance and reading engagement have benefitted from the experimenter’s questions. Contextualized questions were found to significantly enhance children’s word meaning explanation and story retelling. Contextualized and decontextualized questions lead to higher increase in social-cognitive engagement but resulted in faster decrease in behavioral and affective engagement over repetitive readings. Furthermore, children’s initial Mandarin proficiency influences their reading process and outcomes. Generally, the better their Mandarin vocabulary knowledge was, the more they could enjoy and benefit from the reading, whether they were asked questions or not.
We studied the compositional written skills and spelling competence of individuals with a severe hearing impairment, examining qualitative and quantitative characteristics of their texts, the psycholinguistic variables modulating their productions, and writing errors following a fine-grained analysis. Sixteen deaf young adults, educated in bilingual settings, were examined and compared to a group of control hearing subjects matched for gender, age, and education. Writing skills were examined through both written composition and written picture-naming tasks. Concerning compositional skills, deaf participants produced shorter and less informative texts, with fewer adjectives and subordinates, and were qualitatively worse with respect to texts produced by hearing controls. Words produced by deaf participants were those acquired earlier and facilitated by a higher lexical neighbourhood. Errors were mainly semantic, morphological, and syntactic errors, reflecting general linguistic weakness. Spelling errors were few, with phonologically nonplausible misspellings relative to controls, and with phonologically plausible ones being quite rare. In the picture-naming task, deaf people had a greater number of all types of errors with respect to their text, including semantic and morphological errors. Their spelling performance featured mainly phonologically nonplausible misspellings, while phonologically plausible ones were relatively few and comparable to controls. Overall, the writing of deaf adults reveal limitations in grammar and lexical-sematic linguistic competence. This was associated with spelling deficits characterized mainly by the poorer use of phonological sublexical spelling procedures. However, in an ecologic context, their spelling deficits appear not so important as has been claimed in the literature.
Children’s idiom comprehension is an important aspect of language development. Idioms have both literal and figurative meanings, and there are often great differences between literal meaning and figurative meaning, which brings great difficulties to children’s accurate understanding of idioms. As a kind of underlying language ability, metalinguistic awareness can promote the understanding of idioms. This study adopted a two-year three-wave cross-lag design to investigate the developmental relationship between children’s compounding awareness and idiom comprehension and its mechanism of action. A total of 132 Chinese children in grades 3 participated in a series of tests at three-time points. After controlling the homophone awareness, homograph awareness, phonological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, rapid automatic naming, and non-verbal IQ, the following results were obtained: (1) children’s compounding awareness in grade 4 had a significant predictive effect on the level of idiom comprehension in grade 5; (2) children’s idiom comprehension level could predict the development of compounding awareness from grade 3 to grade 4 and from grade 4 to grade 5; (3) there was a bidirectional longitudinal relationship between children’s compounding awareness and idiom comprehension from grade 4 to grade 5. The current research results emphasize the important role of compounding awareness in idiom comprehension, which brings enlightenment for future idiom teaching.
An estimated one-fifth of adults in the United States possess low literacy skills, which includes minimal proficiency in reading and difficulty processing contextual information. One way to study reading behavior of adults with low literacy is through eye movement studies; however, these investigations have been generally limited. Thus, the present study collected eye movement data (e.g., gaze duration, total time, regressions) from adult literacy learners while they read sentences to investigate online reading behavior. We manipulated the lexical ambiguity of the target words, context strength, and context location in the sentences. The role of vocabulary depth, which refers to the deeper understanding of a word in one’s vocabulary, was also examined. Results show that adult literacy learners spent more total time reading ambiguous words compared to control words and vocabulary depth was significantly correlated with processing of lexically ambiguous words. Participants with higher depth scores were more sensitive to the complexity of ambiguous words and more effective at utilizing context compared to those with lower depth scores, which is reflected by more total time reading ambiguous words when more informative context was available and more regressions made to the target word by participants with higher depth scores. Overall, there is evidence to demonstrate the benefits of context use in lexical processing, as well as adult learners’ sensitivity to changes in lexical ambiguity.
Assessments of reading and reading-related skills which measure acquired knowledge may pose problems for the prediction of future reading performance. Such static measures often result in floor effects in the early stages of reading instruction , and may be particularly inaccurate predictors for children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds. Dynamic assessment (DA), in contrast, focuses on learning potential by measuring response to teaching, and may therefore be a less biased form of assessment. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to assess the ability of dynamic measures of reading and related skills to predict variance in the growth of children's reading skills over time. Seventeen peer-reviewed articles met inclusion criteria, representing 18 studies published between 1992 and 2020. After static predictors were accounted for, dynamic measures of phonological awareness and decoding explained a significant amount of variance in the growth of word reading accuracy (1-21%) and word reading fluency (typically 1-9%), while variance in reading comprehension outcomes was accounted for by dynamic measures of morphological awareness (4-33.4%) and one dynamic decoding assessment (1%). Finally, a single paired-associate nonword learning task predicted 6% unique variance in future nonword reading accuracy and fluency. Results support the ability of DA to tap into variance unexplained by traditional static measures , though no studies explicitly examined the validity of DA for children from CLD backgrounds. We call for future studies of DA of reading to adopt longer developmental windows and assess proximal as well as distal reading outcome measures.
Several cross-linguistic studies found that oral reading prosody (i.e., prosodic variations in reading aloud) correlates with reading comprehension. As an extension, the present study aimed to examine the relationship between oral reading prosody and beyond word-level reading abilities in tone languages like Mandarin. One hundred and nine third-grade children were recruited in Taipei, Taiwan and undertook the following tasks: nonverbal IQ, vocabulary and syntactic knowledge, word reading, reading fluency (rate and accuracy), reading comprehension, and oral reading prosody. In the oral reading prosody task, children read aloud narrative prose at the Grade 3 level and their production was evaluated through two rating scales: Rasinski's (2004) and Benjamin et al.'s (2013) scales. Several key findings were found as follows. First, ANOVAs compared children’s performance on oral reading prosody across word reading quartiles and found that oral reading prosody differed as a function of word reading. Second, hierarchical regressions controlled age, nonverbal IQ, vocabulary and syntactic knowledge, word reading and found that oral reading prosody rated through Rasinski's (2004) and Benjamin et al.'s (2013) scales made significant contributions to reading fluency and reading comprehension in Grades 3 and 4. Taken together, oral reading prosody, implicated in word reading, is important to beyond word-level reading abilities.
Recent studies have demonstrated that saccadic programming in reading is not only determined by low-level visual factors. High-level morphological effects on saccade have been shown in two morphologically rich languages. In the present study, we examined the underlying mechanism of such morphological influences by comparing the processes of reading three-character Chinese compound words that differ in their structures in terms of morphological decomposition. Consistent with earlier reports, our results showed an effect of morphological structure on saccade. The readers’ first-fixation location shifted further away from the beginning of the word, when the last two characters were more morphologically bounded and thus formed a [1 + 2] structure, than when the first two characters were more bounded (i.e., a [2 + 1] structure). The results are not accountable by a processing difficulty hypothesis, which proposes that saccade amplitude is determined by morphological complexity; rather, they suggest that Chinese readers parafoveally decompose a word and spontaneously target its longer stem, thus reflecting parafoveal access to words’ stems.
The goal of the present study was to create a brief reliable scale for measuring reading anxiety in college students, a time when reading demands are particularly high. Results revealed individual differences in reading anxiety in a sample of 402 university students, showing reliable measurements from a 10-item scale and replicated in a sample of 198 undergraduates. Reading anxiety related to reading fluency, reading self-concept, self-perception of reading ability compared to others, reading enjoyment, and reading for pleasure frequency. Furthermore, higher reading anxiety was observed in students with a known learning disability compared to those without. How well each of the 10 items differentiated levels of reading anxiety were explored using a graded response model. We provide evidence for the reading-specific nature of reading anxiety by demonstrating a higher correlation between reading anxiety and reading fluency than math fluency and that reading anxiety exists separable from general and social anxiety.
Verbal fluency tasks have been useful in characterizing the cognitive and language impairments in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, we have a limited understanding of verbal fluency in children and adolescents with comorbid ASD and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The current study investigates whether the verbal fluency task can serve as an assistive diagnostic tool for predicting ASD and comorbid ASD and ADHD (ASD+ADHD) diagnoses and symptoms. Children and adolescents with ASD (n=34), ASD+ADHD (n=26), and typical development (TD; n=65) completed a semantic verbal fluency task and standardized cognitive assessments. Results indicated that both ASD and ASD+ADHD groups showed deficits in verbal fluency compared to the TD group, whereas no differences were found between ASD and ASD + ADHD groups. The number of correct word items participants produced during the verbal fluency task differentiated the ASD and ASD+ADHD groups from the TD group and predicted ADHD symptoms. The number of repetitive items and errors differentiated the ASD+ADHD group from the TD group and predicted ASD symptoms related to language and social and self-help. Moreover, the concurrent validity of verbal fluency measures varied according to developmental stages. Taken together, these findings provide new insights into the language and cognitive development of children and adolescents with ASD and ASD+ADHD. Further, the verbal fluency task may provide useful diagnostic information across different developmental stages and contribute to clinicians’ ongoing efforts to develop more effective diagnostic tools and establish more accurate clinical profiles.
On a daily basis, most people read about issues of interest from a diversity of sources. Moreover, the information they encounter frequently encompass discrepancies, ranging from minor inconsistencies to straight contradictions. Readers may construct coherent representations from discrepant contents by linking contents to their respective sources and connecting the sources with agree-disagree or other types of connectives. Across research studies, however, college-level readers' attention to sources has been found to vary according to individual, text and task dimensions. The present study tested the assumption that readers' strategies depend both on the discrepancy of the information and on the context in which the task is framed. Moreover, beliefs about science were included as potential moderator of context effects. One hundred and sixty university students were tasked to read about a series of social-scientific issues. The task was framed in either a university context or a personal context scenario. For each topic, the participants read two short texts which provided either consistent or discrepant information, and then they wrote a short overview essay. The university context had a significant impact on indicators related to a documents model representation (e.g., text switches, number of adversative connectors in the essay) and standards for presentation (e.g., time on the essay/task page, formal features of the essay). The data support a context-dependent view of reading comprehension, whereby both reading behavior and outcomes are primarily a function of the standards and goals set by the reader.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11145-022-10321-2.
Adopting a cognitive perspective, this study examined roles of working memory capacity (WMC), first language (L1) syllogistic inferencing, and second language (L2) linguistic knowledge on literal and inferential understanding of L2 reading comprehension in adolescent L2 learners. Participants were 193 Korean ninth-grade learners of English. The results indicated that L2 linguistic knowledge had a paramount role in explaining literal and inferential understanding of L2 reading. Results also showed that greater WMC facilitated L2 literal reading comprehension for L2 learners with lower L2 linguistic knowledge. Better L1 syllogistic inferencing skills facilitated L2 inferential reading comprehension for L2 learners with lower WMC and lower L2 linguistic knowledge. In addition, WMC had indirect impacts on L2 reading comprehension primarily through L2 linguistic knowledge, which indicates that WMC may lead to better L2 reading comprehension, but only when learners also have greater L2 linguistic knowledge. Overall, this study suggests the different roles of cognitive resources on L2 reading comprehension depending on reader characteristics and reading subdomains and highlight the importance of examining how cognitive resources influence L2 reading comprehension.
Teachers’ knowledge of literacy has gained considerable interest over the last three.decades, largely with a focus on the basic language constructs of phonological. awareness and phonics. Fewer studies, however, have focused on spelling. Given the. close relationship between reading and spelling and the necessity of an explicit. understanding of the phonological, orthographic, and morphological patterns of English. spelling in the science of teaching reading, the current study examines educators’. knowledge of English spelling. Specifically, this pilot investigation focuses on those. who are teaching the teachers—teacher educators from multiple institutions throughout. the United States, who completed a survey assessing their knowledge and. understanding of the phonological, orthographic, and morphological aspects of English. spelling. Moreover, the survey assessed the 85 teacher educators’ self-efficacy in. teaching spelling and their philosophical stance on spelling instruction. Findings. indicate that the teacher educators feel they were not prepared to teach spelling, although they believed that some of the pivotal characteristics of spelling (i.e., morphological awareness and alphabetic principle) are important in teaching spelling. Additionally, while teacher educators were able to determine some of the correct. spelling patterns, many spelling patterns posed problems for them. Lastly, teacher. educators overall lacked knowledge concerning spelling for diverse learners. Research. and practice implications for teacher education and preparation are discussed.
The role of morphology in learning to read can vary widely across languages and is related to the extent to which the morphological system is a dominant feature of the specific language. The present study focuses on Arabic, a Semitic language written in an abjad (consonantal writing system) and characterized by rich morphological structures based on non-concatenative word-building procedures. This study is the first to address the issue of verbal pattern priming among young developing Arabic speakers. Second and fifth graders performed a lexical decision task using cross-modal priming in which target words primed by the same verbal pattern as the target (/tanaffasa/- /tamahhala/ 'breathed-slowed') were compared to words primed with a different verbal pattern than the target while preserving phonological similarity (e.g., /tana:qaʃa/ - /tamahhala/'discussed-slowed'). The findings showed facilitation for target words on accuracy rates among fifth graders only. No facilitation in lexical decisions was observed in reaction times in either grade. These findings show that the verbal pattern acts as a binding agent at a more advanced stage of reading acquisition enhancing representation quality in terms of accuracy. With regard to speed, more reading experience, linguistic knowledge, and exposure to the written language are apparently required.
This study investigated the direct and indirect associations of different executive function skills with Chinese word reading and writing. A total of 213 Cantonese-speaking kindergarteners (97 girls, mean age = 73.3 months) participated in this study. Their working memory, inhibition control, cognitive flexibility, orthographic knowledge, morphological awareness, word reading, and word writing were assessed. The results showed that working memory significantly explained word reading and writing through orthographic knowledge, and morphological awareness, respectively. Beyond that, working memory still predicted word writing directly. The direct path from inhibition control to word writing was also significant. Moreover, inhibition control played a significant indirect role in word reading and writing via morphological awareness. However, cognitive flexibility was only associated with word reading directly in this model. The findings highlighted the respective roles of executive function skills in early Chinese reading and writing. This helps to elucidate the important executive function skills needed for Chinese reading and writing.
Writing, as a highly complex strategic literacy skill alongside reading, is an essential prerequisite for learning and determines a student's educational success. In diverse contexts, a student's linguistic repertoire may involve multiple languages, which may serve as mutual resources in his or her multilingual writing skill development. Drawing on the data from a German panel study, "Multilingual Development: A Longitudinal Perspective", the current research used the longitudinal writing competence data of 965 German-Russian and German-Turkish secondary students regarding their majority language (German), heritage language (Russian or Turkish), and foreign language (English). We applied longitudinal structural equation modeling to investigate within-and between-language effects in multilingual writing development over three waves of data collection. Accordingly, our study extends previous research on the interrelation of languages in multilingual writing development in two ways. First, we provide a more comprehensive analysis of migrant students' multilingual writing repertoires by simultaneously evaluating three languages in an integrative model of multilingual writing development. Second, we use longitudinal competence data to decompose covariance between languages to isolate the parts of the variances that truly predict changes within and between languages. This approach empirically tests the resources hypothesis more rigorously than extant evaluations. In summary, our findings indicate that language-specific writing skills may serve as mutual resources for developing multilingual writing proficiency.
In writing argumentative syntheses from multiple and contradictory sources, students must contrast and integrate different perspectives on a topic or issue. This complex task of source-based argumentation has been shown to be effective for learning, but it has also been shown to be quite challenging. Because of the challenges, educational interventions have been developed to facilitate performance through such means as explicit instruction of strategies and students’ engagement in collaborative writing. Whereas these interventions have been beneficial for many writers, some students continue to perform poorly. The present study builds on prior research into collaborative writing of source-based argumentative syntheses by focusing on these students who experience difficulty with this academic task. Undergraduate psychology students who had previously underperformed on the argumentative task were organized into 56 pairs to participate in one of four versions of an intervention program, which differed in terms of the extent of support provided. The most complete program included collaboration as well as explicit instruction in argumentative synthesis writing and in the collaboration process. Statistical analyses were carried out with two ANOVAs with planned comparisons as well as two mediation models. Results showed that the pairs of students who received this most complete program significantly improved the quality of their synthesis in two dimensions, argument identification and argument analysis. The quality of their performance exceeded the performance of students in the three other intervention programs. The combination of explicit instruction and practice in pairs had positive effects on argument identification; but, for argument integration, effectiveness could be attributed solely to the explicit instruction component of the intervention. The study contributes to prior research by showing how the components of an intervention can make differential contributions to its effectiveness for a particular group of students.
The Better Start Literacy Approach (BSLA) is a strengths-based approach to supporting children’s literacy learning in their first year of school. Previous research has shown the approach is effective at accelerating foundational literacy knowledge in children with lower levels of oral language. This study examined the impact of the BSLA for children with varied language profiles and across schools from diverse socioeconomic communities. Additionally, a controlled analysis of the impact of Tier 2 teaching within a response to teaching framework was undertaken. Participants included 402 five-year-old children from 14 schools in New Zealand. A randomised delayed treatment design was utilised to establish the effect of Tier 1 teaching. Analyses showed a significant Tier 1 intervention effect for phoneme awareness, letter-sound knowledge, non-word reading and non-word spelling. There was no difference in intervention effects across socioeconomic groupings. Children were identified for Tier 2 teaching after 10 weeks of Tier 1 implementation. The progress of 98 children in response to Tier 2 teaching was compared to 26 children who met Tier 2 criteria but received only Tier 1 teaching within this study. Children in the Tier 2 group scored significantly higher on phonological awareness, non-word reading, and spelling than the control group at the post-Tier 2 assessment point, after controlling for pre-Tier 2 scores. The results suggest that a proactive strengths-based approach to supporting foundational literacy learning in children’s first year of school benefits all learners. The findings have important implications for early provision of literacy learning support in order to reduce current inequities in literacy outcomes.
Tender Shoots is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) for parents aimed at improving preschool children's oral language skills relevant for later reading. Parents of 72 preschool children (M = 50 months) were randomly assigned to either a Rich Reading and Reminiscing (RRR) condition, a Strengthening Sound Sensitivity (SSS) condition, or an Activity-Based Control (ABC) condition. RRR and SSS conditions involved dyads conversing about the same 12 books over 6 weeks, with RRR focused on the meaning of the story in relation to children's own experiences, and SSS focused on soundplay. Children's oral narrative skills were assessed with a story listening comprehension and retelling task before and one-year post-intervention. At the 1-year follow-up, children in RRR retold stories with greater accuracy (g = 0.61) and quality (g = 0.68) than did children in the control condition. Tender Shoots RRR is a promising tool for parents to help their children's narrative production (retelling) skills.
Orthographic knowledge is predicted to be central in the process of children’s reading development. We examined both the temporal order between orthographic knowledge and each of word reading and word spelling—effectively, which predicts which by including autoregressive controls— and cross-linguistic transfer between English and French for our emerging bilingual participants. Seven-three children (36 males) were followed from Grades 1 to 3 in a French immersion program in which instruction was entirely in French. We conducted cross-lagged panel models of orthographic knowledge, word reading, and spelling that included controls of phonological awareness, non-verbal ability. In terms of temporal order, word reading (at grade 1) and word spelling (at grade 2) predicted gains in each of English and French orthographic knowledge. In contrast, early orthographic knowledge did not predict gains in word reading or word spelling in either language. In terms of transfer, from their earliest point of measurement, English word reading and spelling consistently predicted later French orthographic knowledge; French word reading and spelling contributed to English orthographic knowledge only from Grade 2. These findings illustrate a dynamic picture of the relations between orthographic knowledge and word reading and spelling both within and across languages, informing current models of each reading with both monolinguals and bilinguals.
Multiple factors simultaneously interact during the writing process. The effect of these interacting factors must be considered if writing is studied as a dynamic and complex process that constantly changes. Based on that premise, the study aims to determine how the interaction between the reading medium and the communicative purpose of a writing task affects the pauses during different stages of the writing process. At the same time, it seeks to determine how this interaction is related to the writer's competence. Using a 2-by-2 experimental design, undergraduate students (n = 66) read documents (print or digital format) and completed a computer-embedded writing task with different communicative purposes (to persuade or to inform). While writing, pauses-related keystrokes were recorded. The results show that neither the reading medium nor the task purpose or the interaction of these two variables affect pauses. However, communicative purpose interacts with the stages of the writing process, so regardless of participants' writing competence, they took longer at the end of the writing process when the purpose was to persuade. Other interactions indicated that the type of pause interacts differentially with the stage and communicative purpose. These interactions and main effects were systematically related to the writer's competence; because once it was statistically controlled, these interactions and main effects were no longer significant. The results are analysed in terms of the cognitive processes underlying pauses, considering evidence from studies on hybrid reading-writing and integrated writing studies.
Writing systems differ in various aspects. English and Korean share basic principles of the alphabetic writing system. As an alphabetic script, Korean Hangul has relatively more regular mapping between graphemes and phonemes; however, its letters are written in syllable units, which encourages phonological retrieval at the syllable level. Therefore, we are interested in whether Korean is similar to English in terms of their brain activation because both are alphabetic, as well as whether Korean is similar to Chinese due to their reliance on syllable-level phonological retrieval. This study compared brain activation patterns during a visual rhyming judgment task in English, Korean, and Chinese. The results revealed that among the three languages, Korean and Chinese showed greater similarities in brain activation than either of them showed with English. Specifically, English recruited the left inferior frontal gyrus, left fusiform gyrus, and left superior temporal gyrus to a greater degree than did Korean or Chinese. In contrast, Korean and Chinese elicited greater activation than English in the bilateral middle frontal gyri, left inferior parietal lobule, and precuneus. These findings suggest that the brain network for Korean is not simply depicted as the one typically observed with alphabetic scripts (e.g., English) but rather highly similar to that of Chinese, a morpho-syllabic script, possibly because the Korean writing system leads to syllable-level phonological representation and processing.
This study investigated how experience with a first language (L1) writing system affects the development of the second language (L2) word recognition subskills and how L2 linguistic knowledge constrains such L1 impacts. In this study, word recognition is conceptualized as a complex construct that entails multiple subskills necessary for identifying a word based on the linguistic information (phonology and morphology) encoded in its visual form. To capture the complexity of the construct, we measured three word-form analysis skills, including orthographic, grapho-phonological, and grapho-morphological processing subskills. We then compared their relative contributions to word-meaning retrieval and reading comprehension among fifty-two college-level Chinese students who learned English in the U.S. The results demonstrated that while orthographic processing subskills were a significant predictor of word-meaning retrieval, grapho-morphological processing subskills were the only factor contributing to text comprehension. In addition, our data revealed that L2 linguistic knowledge played differential roles in mediating the contribution of the L2 word-form analysis skills to word-meaning retrieval and reading comprehension. These findings suggest that L2 word recognition development is constrained not only by previously acquired reading skills and but also by emerging knowledge of the target language. We discussed how the notion of script relativity encapsulates such complex cross-linguistic interactions among morpho-syllabic Chinese (L1), morpho-phonemic English (L2) writing systems, and L2 linguistic knowledge in L2 word recognition development.
Many characters in written Chinese incorporate components (radicals) that provide cues to meaning. These cues are often partial, and some are misleading because they are unrelated to the character’s meaning. Previous studies have shown that radicals influence the reader’s processing of the characters in which they occur (e.g., Feldman and Siok in J Memory Language 40(4):559–576, 1999). We investigated whether readers automatically activate the semantic information associated with a radical even when it is irrelevant to the character’s meaning, using a modified version of the Van Orden (Memory Cogn 15(3):181–198, 1987) task with auditory semantic relatedness ratings on test items. Fifty-one Mandarin speakers participated in the study. On each trial they saw a reference category such as “animal” prior to seeing a character then indicated whether the target character was a member of that category. Decisions were slower and less accurate when a target that is not a member of the target category contained a radical that is. For example, if the category is “found in the kitchen,” the answer for the target 券 “ticket” is no; however the character contains the misleading radical 刀 “knife”. These patterns suggest that readers process the semantics of the radical even when it is not relevant to the meaning of the character. The results further verify the role of radical semantics in character processing and raise questions as to whether repetitions of experience with the idiosyncrasies of the script may result in some of the irrelevant semantics influencing the meaning of the character.
The romanization of non-alphabetic scripts, particularly in digital contexts, is a widespread phenomenon across many languages. However, the effect of script romanization on English reading by bilinguals with English as a second language is underexamined. Guided by the premises of the script relativity hypothesis and the Bilingual Interactive Activation (BIA+) model, we examined differences in phonological activation during visual English word recognition by Hindi-English bilinguals after they were primed with interlingual homophones in Devanagari (traditional Hindi script) and Romanagari (romanized Hindi script). We also explored the specific roles played by diacritic markers and individual language proficiencies. Linear mixed-effects and regression modeling showed that participants were faster at English word recognition when primed by interlingual homophones in Romanagari than in Devanagari. Further, words with diacritics led to faster English word recognition than words without diacritics with both scripts. This was unexpected since Romanagari does not mark diacritics. Finally, lexical proficiency in English and Devanagari explained variance in phonological priming effects. The findings provide evidence that adopting an additional L1 script might reconfigure the architecture of the bilingual lexicon. Our results support the view that script differences play a critical role in language processing.
A contemporary question is whether the script we read in affects our cognition, termed the script relativity hypothesis (Pae in: Script effects as the hidden drive of the mind, cognition, and culture, Springer, Berlin, 2020). The aim of this review is to examine variation in spatial layout (interword spaces and linear-nonlinear configuration) and representation of lexical tone across scripts and whether disparities in those features affect cognition. Both script features are strong candidates for potentially producing script relativity effects. Readers of densely crowded nonlinear scripts (e.g., Thai, Sinhala) may have heightened visuo-perceptual abilities in comparison to readers of linear scripts (e.g., Roman script). Tonal languages vary in terms of both their relative complexity and whether they orthographically encode this feature in their script. This variation may produce differences in sensitivity to tone perception and auditory perceptual skills in readers of tonal languages that do and do not orthographically represent tone in the script and in contrast to readers of non-tonal languages. The empirical research reviewed tends to support a weaker version of the script relativity hypothesis, where there is a channeling effect on attention due to script-specific features while actually reading. The question is still open to debate as to whether this attention allocation translates into more profound, nonlinguistic cognitive consequences. Notably, the research reviewed was not specifically designed to investigate the script relativity hypothesis. In order to investigate longer-term cognitive consequences of this script variation, carefully designed studies need to be conducted with this overriding goal in mind. Future research needs to include other lesser studied languages and their scripts so that we can ascertain what are common cognitive patterns or processes and what are shaped by variation in script-specific features.
The goal of this study was to examine the cross-lagged relations between vocabulary and word reading in children learning two scripts at the same time (pinyin and Chinese). One hundred fifty-nine third-year kindergarten Chinese children (70 girls and 89 boys; mean age = 72.70 months) were assessed on measures of nonverbal IQ, phonological awareness, and vocabulary. In Grades 1 and 2, they were reassessed on pinyin reading, Chinese word reading, and vocabulary. Results of cross-lagged analysis indicated that vocabulary and Chinese word reading were reciprocally related. In contrast, the relation between pinyin reading and vocabulary was unidirectional (pinyin reading in Grade 1 predicted vocabulary in Grade 2). Taken together, these findings suggest that the direction of the relation between vocabulary and word reading is sensitive to the features of the script children are learning to read (thus, providing support of the script relativity hypothesis) and the time when these measures are assessed in different scripts.