ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (5): 623-632.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00623

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The effects of morphological awareness on character recognition and dictation in low-level grades

LI Liping1,WU Xinchun2(),CHENG Yahua3   

  1. 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
  • Received:2018-12-28 Published:2020-05-25 Online:2020-03-26
  • Contact: Xinchun WU


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.

Key words: morphological awareness, character recognition, dictation

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