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