Does Pinyin knowledge promote Chinese reading development?

Kai Yan Dustin LAU, Man Tak LEUNG, Yuan LIANG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Purpose: The current study aims at investigating the importance of Pinyin knowledge in promoting phonological awareness and Chinese reading development. Method: 45 grade 2 children studying at three mainstream primary schools in Shenzhen, China were recruited. The children's Chinese character naming abilities, onset and rhyme awareness, and Pinyin knowledge (in terms of naming Pinyin symbols in isolations and naming real and pseudo-syllables written in Pinyin) were tested. Results: Correlations among variables (Pearson's r) were calculated. Results show that rhyme awareness correlates with the abilities to name rhyme Pinyin symbols (r = .387, p < .01) but onset awareness is only weakly correlated with the abilities to name onset Pinyin symbols (r = .315, p <.05). Although strong correlation between Chinese character naming abilities and the abilities to name rhyme Pinyin symbols is observed (r = .439, p < .01), the Chinese character naming abilities correlates with neither the abilities to name real nor pseudo-syllables written in Pinyin (r = .209, p =.16 and r = .209, p = .18 respectively). Conclusions: Results suggest that Pinyin knowledge may facilitate rhyme awareness but its effect in facilitating onset awareness is minimal. Moreover, naming real and pseudo-syllables written in Pinyin do not seem to facilitate Chinese reading abilities in children. It is more reasonable to interpret the strong correlations between the abilities to name Chinese characters and rhyme Pinyin symbols as a reflection of the significance of pair-associate learning - a common skill required in learning to read Chinese characters and Pinyin symbols.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013



Lau, K.-Y. D., Leung, M.-T., & Liang, Y. (2013, July). Does Pinyin knowledge promote Chinese reading development?. Paper presented at the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.