How do executive functions explain early Chinese reading and writing?

Dora Jue PAN, Dan LIN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the direct and indirect associations of different executive function skills with Chinese word reading and writing. A total of 213 Cantonese-speaking kindergarteners (97 girls, mean age = 73.3 months) participated in this study. Their working memory, inhibition control, cognitive flexibility, orthographic knowledge, morphological awareness, word reading, and word writing were assessed. The results showed that working memory significantly explained word reading and writing through orthographic knowledge, and morphological awareness, respectively. Beyond that, working memory still predicted word writing directly. The direct path from inhibition control to word writing was also significant. Moreover, inhibition control played a significant indirect role in word reading and writing via morphological awareness. However, cognitive flexibility was only associated with word reading directly in this model. The findings highlighted the respective roles of executive function skills in early Chinese reading and writing. This helps to elucidate the important executive function skills needed for Chinese reading and writing. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-647
JournalReading and Writing
Early online dateJun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


Pan, D. J., & Lin, D. (2023). How do executive functions explain early Chinese reading and writing? Reading and Writing, 36, 625-647. doi: 10.1007/s11145-022-10314-1


  • Executive functions
  • Kindergartener
  • Chinese
  • Reading
  • Writing


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