The present study aimed at identifying the indicators of persistent reading difficulties among Chinese readers in junior elementary grades. Method A battery of cognitive-linguistic and reading measures were administered to three groups of Chinese children with different reading trajectories ("persistent poor readers", "improved poor readers" and "normal readers") from Grade 1 to the beginning of Grade 4 in a 3-year longitudinal study. The three groups were classified according to their performance in a standardized Chinese word reading test in Grade 1 and Grade 4. Results Results of ANOVA on the reading-related measures in Grades 1 and 2 among the three groups revealed that rapid naming was the most important identifier of early word reading difficulty. Additional difficulties in other domains, including orthographic skills, morphological awareness, and syntactic skills, were needed for reading problems to persist. Chinese persistent poor readers did not differ significantly from normally-achieving readers on measures of oral language skills, phonological awareness, or phonological memory. Conclusions The present findings show that poor rapid naming is an early indicator of reading difficulties in Chinese and this may help developing early identification tool for reading difficulty in Chinese. The present findings are also in line with the suggestion about the predominant role of the 'semantic pathway' in the 'triangle model' in reading Chinese words in contrast with the less significant role of the "phonological pathway". In terms of educational implications, intervention programmes may include training of orthographic, morphological, and syntactic skills to enhance word reading and reading comprehension of young Chinese poor readers.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|