Word reading and arithmetic calculation are foundational to higher level reading (e.g., text comprehension) and mathematics (e.g., fraction), respectively. The present study aims to examine the similarities and differences in the cognitive precursors of word reading and arithmetic competencies in young Chinese children. A total of 75 Hong Kong Chinese children were tested first in the fall (T1) and then in the spring (T2) of their third kindergarten years. Competencies in Chinese word reading, including both single- and double-character word reading, and arithmetic calculation, including nonsymbolic arithmetic, arithmetic word problems, and written arithmetic, were assessed at both T1 and T2. Phonological awareness, orthographic awareness, rapid automatized naming (RAN), spatial perception, and spatial visualization were assessed at T1. The results showed that phonological awareness predicted later competencies in word reading and symbolic arithmetic, specifically arithmetic word problems and written arithmetic. RAN was predictive of later competencies in word reading and nonsymbolic arithmetic. Orthographic awareness was associated with later competencies in word reading but not arithmetic. Visual-spatial skills predicted later competencies in arithmetic word problems but not word reading. The findings suggest that similarities and differences both exist in the cognitive underpinnings of Chinese word reading and arithmetic competencies at a young age. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CitationZhang, X., & Lin, D. (2018). Cognitive precursors of word reading versus arithmetic competencies in young Chinese children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 42, 55-65.
- Word reading
- Meta-linguistic skills
- Rapid automatized naming
- Visual-spatial skills