Poor readers of Chinese and English: Overlap, stability, and longitudinal correlates

Catherine MCBRIDE-CHANG, Hua SHU, Wai CHAN, Tin Yau Terry WONG, Mei Yin Anita WONG, Yuping ZHANG, Jinger PAN, Paul CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


We tested the overlap in the bottom 25% of scorers (termed “poor readers”) in word reading in Chinese and English, respectively, among statistically representative groups of 8-year-olds from Hong Kong and Beijing in order to determine the chances of being a poor reader in English given that one was already a poor reader in Chinese. The overlap in the status of poor reader was 32% in Hong Kong and 40% in Beijing. For the Beijing sample only, we also examined longitudinal correlates of children who were poor readers of Chinese only, of English only, or poor readers in both, relative to controls at age 8. Poor readers of either Chinese or English scored the same on phonological awareness relative to controls, and poor readers of Chinese were lower than those who were poor readers of English on morphological awareness. Those children who were poor in both scored significantly lower in phonological awareness and morphological awareness, as well as slower in rapid automatized naming, over time, relative to the other groups. Results suggest that it is possible to be poor in reading of either Chinese or English or both and that the cognitive correlates of such difficulties may differ by orthography. Copyright © 2013 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
JournalScientific Studies of Reading
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013



McBride-Chang, C., Shu, H., Chan, W., Wong, T., Wong, A. M.-Y., Zhang, Y., . . . Chan, P. (2013). Poor readers of Chinese and English: Overlap, stability, and longitudinal correlates. Scientific Studies of Reading, 17(1), 57-70. doi: 10.1080/10888438.2012.689787