A developmental study of Chinese children’s word and character reading

Tong LI, Ying WANG, Xiuhong TONG, Catherine MCBRIDE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the relationship between Chinese children’s character and word reading, 62 third and 50 fifth grade children in Hong Kong were asked to read single characters and words that were comprised of these characters. Results showed that words helped children to recognize characters for both grades of children. Compared to older children, younger children’s character reading was more likely to rely on the word that the character appeared in as a component; younger children made more errors in confusing the correct character with words related to it. Younger children’s greater rate of meaning-related errors also underscored the role of the word in their character learning. This study confirmed the important role of words in children’s character learning, and provided evidence for a developmental pattern of character and word reading in Chinese. Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number1
Early online date08 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


Li, T., Wang, Y., Tong, X., & McBride, C. (2017). A developmental study of Chinese children’s word and character reading. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 46(1), 141-155. doi: 10.1007/s10936-016-9429-z


  • Reading strategy
  • Character-level errors
  • Word-level errors
  • Developmental trend


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