Manual speed on the pegboard task predicts children’s reading and spelling performance

Manual speed on the pegboard task predicts children’s reading and spelling performance

First Author: Mo Zheng -- The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Additional authors/chairs: 
Catherine McBride; Connie Suk-Han Ho; Silvia Paracchini
Keywords: Chinese children, Reading, Spelling, Laterality, Manual Speed
Abstract / Summary: 

Some previous studies suggested that manual motor skill and laterality may be predictors or children’s reading and spelling acquisition. The argument, however, is controversial and received only mixed support. The current study examined the link between manual performance, degree of laterality and literacy and aimed to understand the cognitive process underlying the link. A total of 426 Chinese school-age children in Hong Kong from grade 1 to 4 were recruited. Annett’s pegboard task was used to assess their manual motor skill (average speed to move the pegs using the left and the right hand) and degree of laterality (time difference between the two hands). The children were also tested on a battery of Chinese language and literacy measures, including word reading, one-minute word reading, spelling, and digit rapid naming. The results show that children’s reading and spelling skills were significantly associated with peg moving speed, but not with the hand difference or degree of laterality. This study supports the hypothesis that manual motor skill has an impact on reading and spelling acquisition in children.