Visual Skills and Chinese Reading Acquisition: A Meta-analysis of Correlation Evidence

Abstract

This paper used meta-analysis to synthesize the relation between visual skills and Chinese reading acquisition based on the empirical results from 34 studies published from 1991 to 2011. We obtained 234 correlation coefficients from 64 independent samples, with a total of 5,395 participants. The meta-analysis revealed that visual skills as a global construct had a medium correlation effect size (r = 0.32) associated with Chinese reading acquisition. The various visual processing skills differed in their relation to Chinese reading acquisition in different stages. Visual perception, speed of processing visual information, and pure visual memory had low-to-moderate correlations with Chinese reading acquisition in the lower grades (i.e., below second grade), whereas these relations did not retain their magnitude for children in the higher grades (i.e., second through sixth grades). By contrast, visual–verbal association skill was found to account for 34 and 41 % of the variance in children’s Chinese reading acquisition in both lower and higher grade levels, respectively. Greater attention to this construct can significantly benefit reading research and instructional practice. No regional differences between studies in Mainland China and Hong Kong were found in the meta-analysis.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The pronunciation of a character is represented in the square brackets using Mandarin Pinyin. The number denotes the tone of the syllable. The generic meaning of a character is indicated in the quotation marks.

  2. 2.

    A table of detailed information regarding the test instruments used in the primary studies, including task description and reliability, can be obtained through the corresponding author.

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Acknowledgments

The first author is grateful for the financial support provided by the Special Graduate Assistantship in the College of Education, University of Iowa. We thank Dr. Catherine McBride-Chang and other anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.

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Correspondence to Jian-Peng Guo.

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Yang, LY., Guo, JP., Richman, L.C. et al. Visual Skills and Chinese Reading Acquisition: A Meta-analysis of Correlation Evidence. Educ Psychol Rev 25, 115–143 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-013-9217-3

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Keywords

  • Meta-analysis
  • Chinese reading acquisition
  • Visual skills
  • Visual–verbal association