Poor oral discourse skills are the key cognitive-linguistic weakness of Chinese poor comprehenders: A three-year longitudinal study

Yui Chi FONG, Connie Suk Han HO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Prior research on reading difficulties has mainly focused on word decoding problems. However, there exists another group of children – poor comprehenders (PCs) – who have normal word decoding abilities but difficulties in reading comprehension. Less is known about PCs especially in non-alphabetic languages such as Chinese. This study identified three groups – poor decoders, PCs, and average readers – among 103 Chinese children at the end of first grade. Children’s performances in reading and cognitive-linguistic measures, both concurrently at first grade and retrospectively at kindergarten levels two and three, were then compared among the three groups. This study is the first to demonstrate the distinct cognitive profiles of poor decoders and PCs in Chinese. The key cognitive-linguistic weaknesses of Chinese PCs were found to be in oral discourse skills and working memory. The retrospective data further revealed their oral discourse weakness as early as in preschool years at age 5. Practically, the necessity of developing assessment and intervention tools that focus on oral discourse skills for Chinese PCs is highlighted. Copyright © 2019 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-297
JournalFirst Language
Volume39
Issue number3
Early online dateFeb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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longitudinal study
linguistics
discourse
school grade
Group
kindergarten
comprehension
Longitudinal Study
Cognitive Linguistics
Discourse
ability
language
Decoding
First Grade
performance
Working Memory
Kindergarten
Reading Comprehension
Reader
Cognitive Profile

Citation

Fong, C. Y.-C., & Ho, C. S. H. (2019). Poor oral discourse skills are the key cognitive-linguistic weakness of Chinese poor comprehenders: A three-year longitudinal study. First Language, 39(3), 281-297. doi: 10.1177/0142723719830868

Keywords

  • Chinese
  • Cognitive-linguistic skills
  • Poor comprehenders
  • Poor decoders
  • Reading comprehension