Relationships of paired associate learning and cognitive-linguistic skills to Chinese reading skills in kindergarten children

Relationships of paired associate learning and cognitive-linguistic skills to Chinese reading skills in kindergarten children

First Author: Catrina LIU -- The Education University of Hong Kong
Additional authors/chairs: 
Kevin Kien Hoa Chung
Keywords: (Chinese) characters, Cognitive skills, Paired Reading
Abstract / Summary: 

This study investigated the relation of paired associate learning to vocabulary and word reading in Chinese children. Two hundred and four second-year kindergarten children in a big city, Mainland China (Mean age: 5.01 years, SD = .34; 104 boys, 51.2 %) were administered the measures of paired associate learning (PAL) with the four mapping conditions: visual-verbal, verbal-verbal, visual-visual, and verbal-visual PAL. These children were also given tests measuring their executive functioning of working memory and inhibitory control, visual-motor integration, phonological awareness, expressive vocabulary, and Chinese word reading. Results showed that the four mapping conditions of PAL were significantly correlated with vocabulary and Chinese word reading. Subsequent factor analysis showed that the four mapping conditions of PAL were significantly loaded on a single latent factor of PAL. After controlling for age and nonverbal IQ, PAL was uniquely predictive of vocabulary and Chinese word reading. Furthermore, working memory, visual-motor integration, and phonological awareness also uniquely predicted the performance of PAL, which, in turn, independently contributed to vocabulary and word reading. These findings underscore the importance of PAL in promoting children’s vocabulary and word reading and advance our understanding of the underlying mechanism of PAL-reading relationship in Chinese.