Reading and Writing

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 99–128 | Cite as

Chinese character acquisition and visual skills in two Chinese scripts

  • Catherine Mcbride-Chang
  • Bonnie W. Y. Chow
  • Yiping Zhong
  • Stephen Burgess
  • William G. Hayward


Three different visual skills, along with Chinese character recognition, vocabulary, speeded naming, and syllable deletion skills were tested twice over one school year among 118 Hong Kong and 96 Xiangtan, China kindergartners. Results revealed that a task of Visual Spatial Relationships [Gardner, M. F. (1996). Test of visual-perceptual skills (Non-motor): Revised manual. Hydesville, CA: Psychological and Educational Publications] predicted unique variance in Chinese character recognition, controlling for other skills, at Time 1 among Hong Kong children and at Time 2 in Xiangtan children. The three visual skills were inconsistently affected by age and reading skill. Across testing times, visual skills of the Xiangtan children, who learn simplified script, were significantly higher than those of the Hong Kong children, learning traditional script. Results suggest a bidirectional association of visual skills with Chinese character acquisition across scripts.


Chinese Chinese characters Literacy Reading Script Visual skills 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Mcbride-Chang
    • 1
  • Bonnie W. Y. Chow
    • 1
  • Yiping Zhong
    • 2
  • Stephen Burgess
    • 3
  • William G. Hayward
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentChinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.Xiangtan Normal UniversityChina
  3. 3.Southwestern Oklahoma State UniversityUSA

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