The present study examined word learning difficulties in Chinese dyslexic children, readers of a nonalphabetic script. A total of 105 Hong Kong Chinese children were recruited and divided into three groups: Dyslexic (mean age 8;8), CA control (mean age 8;9), and RL control (mean age 6;11). They were given a word learning task and a familiar word writing task. It was found that the Dyslexic group performed less well than the RL group in learning irregular words over trials but not the regular ones. Error analyses showed that the Dyslexic group made more orthographic and word association errors but less intra-wordlist interference errors than the RL control group. The Dyslexic group also performed significantly less well than both control groups in writing familiar words (e.g. their own name). These findings suggest that Chinese dyslexic children have difficulty learning new words, especially irregular ones, and retaining overlearned words in long-term memory. We conclude that Chinese dyslexic children have a specific impairment in word learning like their alphabetic counterparts. Copyright © 2006 Cambridge University Press.