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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (8) : 924-934     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00924
Reports of Empirical Studies |
The relation between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension in Chinese elementary children: A cross-lagged study
CHEN Hongjun,ZHAO Ying,WU Xinchun(),SUN Peng,XIE Ruibo,FENG Jie
Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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Abstract  

Vocabulary knowledge is one of the most important predictors of reading comprehension. According to the DVC (decoding, vocabulary, comprehension) reading skill triangle model, reading comprehension is dependent on knowing the meanings of words being read. At the same time, readers can infer the meanings of unfamiliar words encountered in reading. Therefore, a reciprocal relationship may exist between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension, which is not documented in previous research. The aim of the present study is to examine the relation between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension in different grades of elementary school.


A total of 399 students from first, third and fifth grades were tested on vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension tasks at two time points over one year, along with phonological awareness, morphological awareness and nonverbal reasoning at Time 1 (the fall semester in grade 1, 3 and 5) as control variables. A cross-lagged model was used to investigate the relation between vocabulary and reading comprehension in each grade span.


The results showed that, after controlling for phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and nonverbal reasoning, the relation between vocabulary and comprehension varied in different developmental stages. Vocabulary knowledge did not significantly predict later reading comprehension in primary grades (grade 1 to grade 2). Bidirectional predictive relation was found between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension in middle grades (grade 3 to grade 4). Vocabulary knowledge in grade 5 did not predict later reading comprehension in grade 6, while reading comprehension in grade 5 significantly predicted later vocabulary knowledge in grade 6.


The results support reading stage theory and supplement the DVC reading skill triangle model. The relation between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension among Chinese elementary children changes over time. The primary grades are in the stage of “learning to read”, children’s vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension are mainly affected by the basic cognitive and linguistic skills. The reciprocal relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension is evident in middle grades. The enrichment of vocabulary knowledge enables children to read skilled, and the comprehension of texts can also help children learn new words from texts. Reading comprehension plays an increasingly important role in vocabulary development from middle to upper elementary grades. These findings have implications for reading instruction in Chinese at different developmental stages.

Keywords elementary school      vocabulary knowledge      reading comprehension      cross-lagged model      longitudinal study     
ZTFLH:  B844  
  G44  
Corresponding Authors: Xinchun WU     E-mail: xcwu@bnu.edu.cn
Issue Date: 24 June 2019
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Hongjun CHEN
Ying ZHAO
Xinchun WU
Peng SUN
Ruibo XIE
Jie FENG
Cite this article:   
Hongjun CHEN,Ying ZHAO,Xinchun WU, et al. The relation between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension in Chinese elementary children: A cross-lagged study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(8): 924-934.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00924     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2019/V51/I8/924
年级(T1) 月龄(M ± SD)
127 67 60 76.08 ± 4.20
129 60 69 99.60 ± 4.68
143 71 72 124.56 ± 4.87
399 198 201 101.28 ± 20.54
  
年级 变量(满分) T1 T2 F ηp2
低年级 词汇知识(64) 8.35 ± 5.02 13.51 ± 6.34 135.09*** 0.52
阅读理解(20) 10.90 ± 5.11 17.65 ± 2.27 266.03*** 0.68
语音意识(12) 6.22 ± 3.75
语素意识(60) 9.08 ± 8.90
一般认知能力(60) 27.76 ± 9.30
中年级 词汇知识(64) 17.00 ± 7.19 23.13 ± 7.21 143.82*** 0.53
阅读理解(16) 6.75 ± 2.71 9.24 ± 3.41 94.13*** 0.42
语音意识(12) 9.16 ± 2.45
语素意识(60) 22.07 ± 12.22
一般认知能力(60) 40.55 ± 7.64
高年级 词汇知识(64) 27.07 ± 6.30 30.76 ± 6.57 49.57*** 0.26
阅读理解(17) 9.46 ± 2.73 10.97 ± 2.60 45.71*** 0.25
语音意识(12) 10.32 ± 1.77
语素意识(60) 32.37 ± 10.50
一般认知能力(60) 44.68 ± 6.52
  
研究变量 1 2 3 4 5 6
1. T1词汇知识 1
2. T1阅读理解 0.33*** 1
3. T2词汇知识 0.64*** 0.26** 1
4. T2阅读理解 0.23** 0.41*** 0.18* 1
5. 语音意识 0.32*** 0.25** 0.20* 0.32*** 1
6. 语素意识 0.40*** 0.29*** 0.47*** 0.21* 0.19* 1
7. 一般认知能力 0.36*** 0.28** 0.35*** 0.30** 0.17 0.23**
  
研究变量 1 2 3 4 5 6
1. T1词汇知识 1
2. T1阅读理解 0.52*** 1
3. T2词汇知识 0.68*** 0.51*** 1
4. T2阅读理解 0.57*** 0.57*** 0.52*** 1
5. 语音意识 0.40*** 0.32*** 0.37*** 0.45*** 1
6. 语素意识 0.49*** 0.29** 0.47*** 0.34*** 0.24** 1
7. 一般认知能力 0.37*** 0.46*** 0.34*** 0.54*** 0.27** 0.26**
  
研究变量 1 2 3 4 5 6
1. T1词汇知识 1
2. T1阅读理解 0.35*** 1
3. T2词汇知识 0.53*** 0.39*** 1
4. T2阅读理解 0.29** 0.50*** 0.32*** 1
5. 语音意识 0.18* 0.11 0.14 0.18* 1
6. 语素意识 0.27** 0.23** 0.32*** 0.26** 0.23** 1
7. 一般认知能力 0.19* 0.46*** 0.27** 0.51*** 0.18* 0.18*
  
  
  
  
  
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