Are poor Chinese text comprehenders also poor in written composition?
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We studied the performance in three genres of Chinese written composition (narration, exposition, and argumentation) of 158 grade 4, 5, and 6 poor Chinese text comprehenders compared with 156 good Chinese text comprehenders. We examined text comprehension and written composition relationship. Verbal working memory (verbal span working memory and operation span working memory) and different levels of linguistic tasks—morphological sensitivity (morphological compounding and morphological chain), sentence processing (syntax construction and syntax integrity), and text comprehension (narrative and expository texts)—were used to predict separately narrative, expository, and argumentation written compositions in these students. Grade for grade, the good text comprehenders outperformed the poor text comprehenders in all tasks, except for morphological chain. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed differential contribution of the tasks to different genres of writing. In particular, text comprehension made unique contribution to argumentation writing in the poor text comprehenders. Future studies should ask students to read and write parallel passages in the same genre for better comparison and incorporate both instructional and motivational variables.
KeywordsGenres of Chinese written composition Linguistic tasks Text comprehension Working memory
This study was assisted with a National Office for Education Sciences Planning Grant (DBA120179) awarded to Dr. Connie Qun Guan and Engineering Research Institute Foundations of USTB Grant (YJ2012-019) to Dr. Guan, sponsored by National Institute of Education Science (NIES) grant no. GY2012013 to Prof. Wanjin Meng.
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