Visual-spatial attention uniquely predicts speeded reading and character writing in Chinese third graders


Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Visual-spatial attention, namely the selective attention to the spatial location of visually presented objects, has been found to be related to children’s reading performance in alphabetic languages in previous studies. Building on previous findings, the present study investigated the relationship between visual-spatial attention and timed word reading and dictation in Hong Kong Chinese children. A total of 92 third grade Hong Kong Chinese children (mean age = 9.03, SD = .32) were recruited as participants. Visual-spatial attention was measured with a visual search task, in which participants were asked to circle out the targets from a matrix composed of targets and distracters. Visual search index, calculated with (error + 1) / completing time, explained unique variance in timed reading accuracy (i.e. the total number of words read correctly divided by the total number of words read in the timed reading task) and dictation, but not reading fluency (i.e. the number of words read correctly in the timed reading task), after controlling for age, non-verbal intelligence, morphological awareness, phonological awareness, orthographic knowledge, and RAN. RAN was also found to be a robust predictor of reading and writing in Chinese. Morphological awareness was found to be correlated with word reading, but not word writing. The present study was among the first to provide evidence for the importance of visual-spatial attention for Chinese children’s literacy performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015



Liu, P. D., & Chen, X. (2015, July). Visual-spatial attention uniquely predicts speeded reading and character writing in Chinese third graders. Poster session presented at the Twenty-Second Annual Meeting: Society for the scientific study of reading, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, The Big Island, Hawaii.


  • Attention
  • Chinese
  • Word reading
  • Spelling