Modeling the Relationships between Language Skills and Sentence Comprehension among Chinese Junior Elementary Graders


  • Xiao-Yun Xiao The Education University of Hong Kong
  • Connie Suk-Han Ho University of Hong Kong



The present study examined the contributions of vocabulary knowledge, syntactic skills, and oral narrative skills to sentence reading comprehension among Chinese junior elementary school children. Various language and reading measures were administered to 85 Chinese normally-achieving children at Grades 2 and 3 in Hong Kong. Results showed that vocabulary knowledge and oral narrative skills contributed significantly to word order skills, an important syntactic skill in Chinese. Vocabulary knowledge contributed to word recognition directly and contributed to sentence comprehension indirectly through word recognition and syntactic skills; and syntactic skills contributed to sentence comprehension directly. These findings suggest that while vocabulary knowledge is important for Chinese word reading, syntactic word order plays a central role in Chinese sentence comprehension. The implications of these findings for our theoretical understanding of the Simple View of Reading, as well as reading instruction, will be discussed.

Author Biographies

Xiao-Yun Xiao, The Education University of Hong Kong

Dr. Xiao-Yun Xiao is now a lecturer at the Education University of Hong Kong. Her main research areas are in Chinese language and literacy development and Chinese developmental dyslexia. She has been actively participated in many research projects recently such as the project of READ & WRITE: A Jockey Club Learning Support Network to provide comprehensive educational support to children with reading and writing difficulties in Hong Kong. She also contributed to the Hong Kong part of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) which is an international assessment of reading achievement of primary Grade 4 students worldwide conducted every five years from 2001, aiming to investigate contextual and instructional factors that are important for reading development and reading impairment.

Connie Suk-Han Ho, University of Hong Kong

Prof. Connie Suk-han Ho is the Eugene Chuang Professor in Developmental and Educational Psychology and the Director of two Doctoral Educational Psychology programmes at the University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses mainly on the cognitive and genetic aspects of literacy learning and developmental dyslexia. She has been the founder and active researcher of the Hong Kong Specific Learning Difficulties Research Team since 1998. Prof. Ho’s team has developed several sets of standardized assessment instruments for all professional psychologists and teachers in Hong Kong to identify students with dyslexia from preschool to tertiary levels. Her team has also developed the first evidence-based Chinese tiered intervention model for literacy instruction.




How to Cite

Xiao, X.-Y., & Ho, C. S.-H. (2020). Modeling the Relationships between Language Skills and Sentence Comprehension among Chinese Junior Elementary Graders. Language and Literacy, 22(2), 80–116.