Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2020, Vol. 52 Issue (5) : 623-632     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00623
Reports of Empirical Studies |
The effects of morphological awareness on character recognition and dictation in low-level grades
LI Liping1,WU Xinchun2(),CHENG Yahua3
1 School of Education Science, Experimental Teaching Center of Psychology and Cognitive Behavior, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen 041004, China
2 Faculty of psychology, Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, Research Center of Children’s Reading and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
3 Department of Psychology, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China
Download: PDF(706 KB)   HTML Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks     Supporting Info

Character recognition and dictation are two important skills for literacy at the word level. Because Chinese is a logographic script and characters are visually complex, reading and spelling character are more difficult than learning alphabet language. The development of character recognition and dictation in Chinese has unique characteristics. Many cross-sectional researches investigated how morphological awareness contributed to logographic and alphabet language learning, and its influence on the development of character recognition and dictation. However, few studies explored the relationship between morphological awareness and the development of character recognition and dictation over time.
The present four-wave longitudinal research was conducted in two Mandarin Chinese primary schools for two years, with a sample consisting of 127 first grade students. A battery of measures, including nonverbal IQ, phonological awareness, orthographic awareness, morphological awareness (homophone awareness, compound word production) were administered in order to investigate the influential factors of character recognition and dictation development in children. The analysis included an unconditional latent growth model to examine the growth trajectory of character recognition and dictation, and a conditional latent growth model to examine the contribution of morphological awareness to the growth of character recognition and dictation.
The results of the unconditional latent growth model showed that: (1) the developmental trajectory of character recognition showed linear growth it grew at a constant speed. The developmental trajectory of dictation showed non-linear growth, and the growth took place at a fast pace in the beginning and at a slower pace in the latter half of the development trend. Instead of Matthew effect, a compensation effect existed in both character recognition and dictation development, and the standardized correlation coefficients of intercept and slope for character recognition was -0.33 significantly, and for dictation was -0.89 significantly. (2) Homophone awareness and compound word production predicted significantly the children’s initial level (β = 0.40, p < 0.001; β = 0.14, p < 0.05 respectively) and the growth rate of character recognition (β = 0.28, p < 0.001; β = 0.25, p < 0.001 respectively), but not the growth rate in dictation.
These results suggest that the growth trajectories were different for character recognition and dictation, and the later growth rates of character recognition and dictation were not decided by initial growth levels. The role of morphological awareness was more significant on the development of character recognition than on the development of dictation from Grade 1 to Grade 2.

Keywords morphological awareness      character recognition      dictation     
PACS:  B849:G44  
Corresponding Authors: Xinchun WU     E-mail:
Issue Date: 26 March 2020
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Cite this article:   
LI Liping,WU Xinchun,CHENG Yahua. The effects of morphological awareness on character recognition and dictation in low-level grades[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2020, 52(5): 623-632.
URL:     OR
[1] Apel K., & Lawrence J . (2011). Contributions of morphological awareness skills to word-level reading and spelling in first- grade children with and without speech sound disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 54(5), 1312-1327.
[2] Apel K., Wilson-Fowler E. B., Brimo D., & Perrin N. A . (2012). Metalinguistic contributions to reading and spelling in second and third grade students. Reading and Writing, 25, 1283-1305.
[3] Bast J., & Reitsma P . (1998). Analyzing the development of individual differences in terms of Matthew effects in reading: Results from a Dutch longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 34(6), 1373-1399.
[4] Bialystok E., McBride-Chang C., & Luk G . (2005). Bilingualism, language proficiency, and learning to read in two writing systems. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(4), 580-590.
[5] Carlisle J. F . (2010). Effects of instruction in morphological awareness on literacy achievement: An integrative review. Reading Research Quarterly, 45, 464-487.
[6] Carreker S. H., Neuhaus G. F., Swank P. R., Johnson P., Monfils M. J., & Montemayor M. L . (2007). Teachers with linguistically informed knowledge of reading subskills are associated with a Matthew effect in reading comprehension for monolingual and bilingual students. Reading Psychology, 28(2), 187-212.
[7] Deacon S. H., Kirby J. R., & Casselman-Bell M . (2009). How robust is the contribution of morphological awareness to general spelling outcomes? Reading Psychology, 30(4), 301-318.
[8] Deacon S. H., Wade-Woolley L., & Kirby J . (2007). Crossover: The role of morphological awareness in French immersion children's reading. Developmental Psychology, 43(3), 732-746.
[9] Dong Q., Li H., Wu X. C., Rao X. W., & Zhu J . (2014). The roles of morphological awareness, phonological awareness and rapid naming in linguistic skills development of Chinese kindergartener: Evidence from a longitudinal study. Studies of Psychology and Behavior, 12(2), 207-211.
[9] [ 董琼, 李虹, 伍新春, 饶夏溦, 朱瑾 . (2014). 语素意识、语音意识和快速命名在学前儿童言语能力发展中的预测作用: 来自追踪研究的证据. 心理与行为研究, 12(2), 207-211.]
[10] Ehri L. C . (2000). Learning to read and learning to spell: Two sides of a coin. Topics in Language Disorders, 20(3), 19-36.
[11] Good J. E., Lance D. M., & Rainey J . (2015). The effects of morphological awareness training on reading, spelling, and vocabulary skills. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 36(3), 142-151.
[12] Green L., McCutchen D., Schwiebert C., Quinlan T., Eva- Wood A., & Juelis J . (2003). Morphological development in children's writing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 752-761.
[13] Hui Y., Zhou X. L., Li Y. X., De X. Q., Li H., & Liu X. P . (2018). Developmental trends of literacy skills of Chinese lower graders: The predicting effects of reading-related cognitive skills. Psychological Development and Education, 34(1), 73-79.
[13] [ 回懿, 周雪莲, 李宜逊, 德秀齐, 李虹, 刘翔平 . (2018). 小学低年级汉语儿童语言能力的发展轨迹:认知能力的预测作用. 心理发展与教育, 34(1), 73-79.]
[14] Kemp N . (2006). Children’s spelling of base, inflected, and derived words: Links with morphological awareness. Reading and Writing, 19, 737-765.
[15] Kempe C., Eriksson-Gustavsson A. L., & Samuelsson S . (2011). Are there any Matthew effects in literacy and cognitive development? Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 55, 181-196.
[16] Li H., Rao X. W., Dong Q., Zhu J., & Wu X. C . (2011). The roles of phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and rapid naming in linguistic skills development of kindergartener. Psychological Development and Education, 27(2), 158-163.
[16] [ 李虹, 饶夏溦, 董琼, 朱瑾, 伍新春 . (2011). 语音意识、语素意识和快速命名在儿童言语发展中的作用. 心理发展与教育, 27(2), 158-163.]
[17] Li H., Shu H., McBride-Chang C., Liu H., & Peng H . (2012). Chinese children's character recognition: Visuo-orthographic, phonological processing and morphological skills. Journal of Research in Reading, 35, 287-307.
[18] Li L., & Wu X . (2015). Effects of metalinguistic awareness on reading comprehension and the mediator role of reading fluency from grades 2 to 4. PloS One, 10(3), e114417.
[19] Li L. P., Wu X. C., Xiong C. Y., Cheng Y. H., & Nguyen T. P . (2016). Effects of metalinguistic awareness and rapid automatized naming on character dictation for pupils. Psychological Development and Education, 32(6), 698-705.
[19] [ 李利平, 伍新春, 熊翠燕, 程亚华, 阮氏芳 . (2016). 元语言意识和快速命名对小学生汉字听写的影响. 心理发展与教育, 32(6), 698-705.]
[20] Liu H. Y., & Zhang L . (2005). Longitudinal data analysis methods and its applications. Beijing: Educational Science Publishing House.
[20] [ 刘红云, 张雷 . (2005). 追踪数据分析方法及其应用. 北京: 教育科学出版社.]
[21] Ma J. S., & Chen Y. L . (2019). Confusion and clarification on the primary school orientation in the preschool education: Based on the analysis of "centering on children's development" stance. Journal of Beijing Normal University (Social Sciences), (4), 5-14.
[21] [ 马健生, 陈元龙 . (2019). 学前教育小学化: 困惑与澄清——基于“儿童发展中心”的分析. 北京师范大学学报(社会科学版), (4), 5-14. ]
[22] McBride-Chang C., Shu H., Zhou A., Wat C. P., & Wagner R. K . (2003). Morphological awareness uniquely predicts young children's Chinese character recognition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 743-751.
[23] McMaster K. L., Fuchs D., Fuchs L. S., & Compton D. L . (2005). Responding to nonresponders: An experimental field trial of identification and intervention methods. Exceptional Children, 71, 445-463.
[24] Meredith W., & Tisak J . (1990). Latent curve analysis. Psychometrika, 55, 107-122.
[25] Nagy W., Berninger V., Abbott R., Vaughan K., & Vermeulen K . (2003). Relationship of morphology and other language skills to literacy skills in at-risk second-grade readers and at-risk fourth-grade writers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 730-742.
[26] Ning N., Yang S., Shen C. Y., Cai Y. Y., Yuan Z., Ji B. T., & Liu X. P . (2017). The connecting competition effect on the orthographic-phonological connection coding for children with spelling difficulties. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 49(4), 439-449.
[26] [ 宁宁, 杨双, 沈晨雁, 蔡艳艳, 袁卓, 季柏庭, 刘翔平 . (2017). 联结竞争对听写困难儿童形音联结编码的影响. 心理学报, 49(4), 439-449.]
[27] Nunes T., Bryant P., & Bindman M . (1997). Morphological spelling strategies: Developmental stages and processes. Developmental Psychology, 33(4), 637-649.
[28] Paris S. G . (2005). Reinterpreting the development of reading skills. Reading Research Quarterly, 40(2), 184-202.
[29] Perfetti C . (2007). Reading ability: Lexical quality to comprehension. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11(4), 357-383.
[30] Pfost M., Dörfler T., & Artelt C . (2012). Reading competence development of poor readers in a German elementary school sample: An empirical examination of the Matthew effect model. Journal of Research in Reading, 35(4), 411-426.
[31] Pittas E., & Nunes T . (2014). The relation between morphological awareness and reading and spelling in Greek: A longitudinal study. Reading and Writing, 27, 1507-1527.
[32] Rasinski T. V . (2017). Readers who struggle: Why many struggle and a modest proposal for improving their reading. The Reading Teacher, 70(5), 519-524.
[33] Roman A. A., Kirby J. R., Parrila R. K., Wade-Woolley L., & Deacon S. H . (2009). Toward a comprehensive view of the skills involved in word reading in Grades 4, 6, and 8. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 102(1), 96-113.
[34] Shen H. H., & Bear D. R . (2000). Development of orthographic skills in Chinese children. Reading and Writing, 13, 197-236.
[35] Shu H., McBride-Chang C., Wu S., & Liu H. Y . (2006). Understanding Chinese developmental dyslexia: Morphological awareness as a core cognitive construct. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 122-133.
[36] Stanovich K. E . (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21(4), 360-406.
[37] Sun M. X . (2018). Cultivation of the psychological quality in convergence of kindergartens and primary schools. Ji Chu Jiao Yu Lun Tan, (11), 41-42.
[37] [ 孙淼鑫 . (2018). 幼小衔接之心理品质的培养. 基础教育论坛, (11), 41-42. ]
[38] Tong X., McBride-Chang C., Shu H., & Wong A. M. Y . (2009). Morphological awareness, orthographic knowledge, and spelling errors: Keys to understanding early Chinese literacy acquisition. Scientific Studies of Reading, 13(5), 426-452.
[39] Venezky R. L . (1999). The American way of spelling: The structure and origins of American English orthography. New York, NY: Guilford.
[40] Verhoeven L., & Carlisle J. F . (2006). Introduction to the special issue: Morphology in word identification and word spelling. Reading and Writing, 19, 643-650.
[41] Verhoeven L., & Perfetti C. A . (2003). Introduction to this special issue: The role of morphology in learning to read. Scientific Studies of Reading, 7, 209-217.
[42] Verhoeven L., & Perfetti C. A . (2011). Morphological processing in reading acquisition: A cross-linguistic perspective. Applied Psycholinguistics, 32(3), 457-466.
[43] Walczyk J. J., & Griffith-Ross D. A . (2007). How important is reading skill fluency for comprehension? The Reading Teacher, 60(6), 560-569.
[44] Wang M. C., & Bi X. Y . (2018). Latent variable modeling using Mplus. Chongqing: Chongqing University Press.
[44] [ 王孟成, 毕向阳 . (2018). 潜变量建模与Mplus应用·进阶篇. 重庆: 重庆大学出版社.]
[45] Wu X., Anderson R. C., Li W., Wu X., Li H., Zhang J., .. Gaffney J. S . (2009). Morphological awareness and Chinese children's literacy development: An intervention study. Scientific Studies of Reading, 13(1), 26-52.
[46] Zhang D. C., Zhang H. C., Zhou X. L., & Shu H . (1999). Production of Chinese characters under dictation. Applied Linguistics, (1), 68-71.
[46] [ 张大成, 张厚粲, 周晓林, 舒华 . (1999). 听写任务下的字词加工. 语言文字应用, (1), 68-71.]
[47] Zhang H. C., & Wang X. P . (1989). Standardization research on raven’s standard progressive matrices in China. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 21(2), 3-11.
[47] [ 张厚粲, 王晓平 . (1989). 瑞文标准推理测验在我国的修订. 心理学报, 21(2), 3-11.]
[48] Zhang Q. R., Bian Y. F., Wang Y. H., & Yuan C. Y . (2012). Multilevel analysis of effects of school educational environment and resource on teenagers' academic achievements. Educational Research, 33(8), 32-40.
[48] [ 张启睿, 边玉芳, 王烨晖, 苑春勇 . (2012). 学校教育环境与资源对青少年学业成就的影响. 教育研究, 33(8), 32-40.]
[1] CHENG Yahua, WANG Jian, WU Xinchun.  The role of morphological awareness in Chinese children’s reading comprehension: The mediating effect of word reading fluency[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(4): 413-425.
[2] CHENG Yahua, WU Xinchun, LIU Hongyun, LI Hong.  The developmental trajectories of oral vocabulary knowledge and its influential factors in Chinese primary school students[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(2): 206-215.
[3] ZHAO Ying; CHENG Yahua; WU Xinchun; NGUYEN Thi Phuong. The reciprocal relationship between morphological awareness and vocabulary knowledge among Chinese children: A longitudinal study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(11): 1434-1444.
[4] LI Liping; WU Xinchun; ZHOU Ningning; CHENG Yahua; NGUYEN Thi Phuong. The cognitive characteristics and influential factors of Chinese word callers in primary school[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(10): 1270-1281.
[5] WU Yan; WANG Xieshun; CHEN Hsuan-chih. ERP effects of Radical Combinability in Chinese Character Recognition[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(2): 157-166.
[6] Liu-Wenli,Liu-Xiangping,Zhang-Jingqiao. A Preliminary Study of Subtypes of Chinese Developmental Dyslexia[J]. , 2006, 38(05): 681-693.
[7] Chen Baoguo , Peng Danling (Department of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875). THE TIME COURSE OF GRAPHIC, PHONOLOGICAL AND SEMANTIC INFORMATION PROCESSING IN CHINESE CHARACTER RECOGNITION(Ⅰ)[J]. , 2001, 33(01): 1-6.
[8] Han Buxin (Institute of Psychology, Academia Sinica, Beijing 100012). FREQUENCY EFFECT OF CHARACTER COMPONENTS COMBINATION IN THE RECOGNITION OF CHINESE CHARACTERS[J]. , 1996, 28(03): 232-237.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech