Reading and Writing

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 679–699 | Cite as

Syntactic skills in sentence reading comprehension among Chinese elementary school children

  • Pakey Pui-man Chik
  • Connie Suk-han Ho
  • Pui-sze Yeung
  • David Wai-ock Chan
  • Kevin Kien-hoa Chung
  • Hui Luan
  • Lap-yan Lo
  • Wendy Suet-yee Lau


The present study examined the role of syntactic skills for reading comprehension in Chinese. Two hundred and seventy-two Chinese children were tested on their phonological processing, orthographic, morphological, syntactic, and literacy skills at Grades 1 and 2. Hierarchical multiple regression results showed that syntactic skills, in terms of word order, connective usage, and knowledge of morphosyntactic structure (measured by an oral cloze task) in Grade 1, significantly predicted sentence reading comprehension in Grade 2 after controlling for the children’s age, IQ, and word level reading-related cognitive skills in Grade 1, and word reading in Grade 2. As in alphabetic languages, syntactic skills are essential for reading comprehension in Chinese. The unique roles of individual syntactic skills for understanding sentences in Chinese are discussed.


Reading comprehension Chinese Syntactic skills 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pakey Pui-man Chik
    • 1
  • Connie Suk-han Ho
    • 2
  • Pui-sze Yeung
    • 2
  • David Wai-ock Chan
    • 3
  • Kevin Kien-hoa Chung
    • 4
  • Hui Luan
    • 5
  • Lap-yan Lo
    • 6
  • Wendy Suet-yee Lau
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Centre for Learning StudyThe Hong Kong Institute of EducationTai PoHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of EducationThe Chinese University of Hong KongSha TinHong Kong
  4. 4.Department of Special Education and CounsellingThe Hong Kong Institute of EducationTai PoHong Kong
  5. 5.Faculty of Social Sciences, Psychology UnitHong Kong Baptist UniversitySha TinHong Kong
  6. 6.Department of Counselling and PsychologyHong Kong Shue Yan UniversityBraemar Hill, North PointHong Kong
  7. 7.Hong KongChina

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