Development of lexical tone awareness in Chinese children with and without dyslexia

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This paper describes two studies that examined the lexical tone awareness of Chinese children both with and without dyslexia at different primary school ages. Study 1 examined the contributions of lexical tone awareness to distinguish children with and without dyslexia with respect to their Chinese character reading skills. Two hundred and seventy Chinese children participated in Study 1. Ninety of these were children with dyslexia (equally recruited from second, fourth, and sixth grades). Moreover, ninety children functioned as a chronological-age control group, and an additional ninety children functioned as a reading-level control group. The participants were tested for nonverbal intelligence, Chinese character reading, and cognitive-linguistic skills and lexical tone awareness. Our results revealed a later developmental ceiling in Chinese children with dyslexia than in those without dyslexia. Furthermore, children’s lexical tone awareness could serve to distinguish children with dyslexia from typically developing children in all primary school years. Study 2 compared the lexical tone awareness and Chinese character reading skills of Chinese children with dyslexia both before and after introducing the Perceptual Training Method. The participants in this study consisted of all the participants with dyslexia from Study 1, and the measurements were the Chinese character reading test and the lexical tone awareness task from Study 1. Our results revealed that only second-grade children with dyslexia gained substantially from the training on both lexical tone awareness and character naming, whereas those in the fourth grade obtained a significant improvement only on lexical tone awareness. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-214
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Early online dateFeb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


Wang, L.-C., Liu, D., Chung, K. K.-H., & Yang, H.-M. (2017). Development of lexical tone awareness in Chinese children with and without dyslexia. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 49, 203-214.


  • Lexical tone awareness
  • Chinese dyslexia
  • Primary school ages


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