Purpose The present study aimed to investigate what types of cognitive-linguistic skills are important to Chinese text writing among elementary grade children. Method Two hundred fifty-nine Grade 4 students (133 boys and 126 girls) from two representative elementary schools in Hong Kong were administered measures tapping text writing skills and cognitive-linguistic skills (verbal working memory, transcription skills, oral narrative skills, syntactic skills and discourse skills) that were significant predictors of text writing. Results Hierarchical multiple regression analyses results suggested that transcription skills and syntactic skills contributed unique variance to text writing after controlling for age, IQ and verbal working memory. However, oral narrative skills and discourse skills were not significant predictors of text writing. Path analyses results showed that only transcription skills and syntactic skills had direct effects on text writing. Conclusions These findings among Chinese children were contrary to those among children learning to write in transparent writing systems (e.g., Turkish, Finnish) (Babayiğit & Stainthorp, 2010, 2011; Mäki, Voeten, Vauras, & Poskiparta, 2001) where working memory and oral language skills were significant predictors of text writing, but not transcriptions skills (i.e., handwriting or spelling), starting in grade 2. The strong contribution of transcription skills to Chinese text writing among children beyond the early elementary grades may reflect the complexity of the Chinese writing system. In view of these differences in the cognitive-linguistic skills important to text writing across different orthographies, orthographic depth may need to be considered in developing a universal model of text writing.
|Published - Jul 2012