A reciprocal relationship between syntactic awareness and reading comprehension

Xiuhong TONG, Catherine MCBRIDE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the reciprocal relationship between Chinese syntactic awareness and Chinese reading comprehension among 129 Hong Kong Chinese-speaking children participating in a 10-year longitudinal study. All children were tested on tasks of nonverbal reasoning, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, word reading, syntactic judgment/correction, conjunction cloze, and reading comprehension. Results showed that children's syntactic awareness at age 11 was significantly associated with their reading comprehension at age 12 even after taking into account early nonverbal reasoning ability, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, word reading, vocabulary knowledge, and the previous year's reading comprehension. The results also showed that children's performance in reading comprehension at age 11 accounted for substantial variance in syntactic awareness at age 12. These findings suggest that the relation between syntactic awareness and reading comprehension is bidirectional, and they may mutually reinforce each other during reading development in Cantonese-speaking children. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Early online dateJun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Tong, X., & McBride, C. (2017). A reciprocal relationship between syntactic awareness and reading comprehension. Learning and Individual Differences, 57, 33-44.


  • Reading comprehension
  • Chinese syntactic awareness
  • Chinese language
  • Cantonese-speaking children


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