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Beyond phonological and morphological processing: pure copying as a marker of dyslexia in Chinese but not poor reading of English

Abstract

To examine cognitive correlates of dyslexia in Chinese and reading difficulties in English as a foreign language, a total of 14 Chinese dyslexic children (DG), 16 poor readers of English (PE), and 17 poor readers of both Chinese and English (PB) were compared to a control sample (C) of 17 children, drawn from a statistically representative sample of 177 second graders. Children were tested on pure copying of unfamiliar stimuli, rapid automatized naming (RAN), phoneme deletion, syllable deletion, and morphological awareness. With children’s ages and Raven’s nonverbal reasoning statistically controlled, the PE and PB groups were significantly lower than the C group on phoneme deletion and RAN tasks, while the DG performed significantly better than the PB group on the RAN task. The copying task distinguished the DG group from the C group. Findings particularly highlight the importance of phoneme awareness for word reading in English (but not Chinese), the potential need for fluency training for children with reading difficulties in both Chinese and English, and the important role that copying skills could have specifically in understanding impairment of literacy skills in Chinese (but not English).

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Income was measured on a 5-point scale: 1 = 4000 or below, 2 = 4000–9999, 3 = 10,000–19,999, 4 = 20,000–39,000, and 5 = 40,000 or above.

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Funding

This research was supported by the Collaborative Research Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Research Grants Council (CUHK: 2300035) to Catherine McBride.

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Correspondence to Catherine McBride.

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Kalindi, S.C., McBride, C., Tong, X. et al. Beyond phonological and morphological processing: pure copying as a marker of dyslexia in Chinese but not poor reading of English. Ann. of Dyslexia 65, 53–68 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-015-0097-8

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Keywords

  • Chinese dyslexia
  • Poor reader
  • Pure copying
  • Rapid automatized naming