Syntactic and discourse skills in Chinese adolescent readers with dyslexia: a profiling study

Ann Dyslexia. 2014 Oct;64(3):222-47. doi: 10.1007/s11881-014-0095-2. Epub 2014 Oct 7.


This study aims to investigate the relation of syntactic and discourse skills to morphological skills, rapid naming, and working memory in Chinese adolescent readers with dyslexia and to examine their cognitive-linguistic profiles. Fifty-two dyslexic readers (mean age, 13;42) from grade 7 to 9 in Hong Kong high schools were compared with 52 typically developing readers of the same chronological age (mean age, 13;30) in the measures of word reading, 1-min word reading, reading comprehension, morpheme discrimination, morpheme production, morphosyntactic knowledge, sentence order knowledge, digit rapid naming, letter rapid naming, backward digit span, and non-word repetition. Results showed that dyslexic readers performed significantly worse than their peers on all the cognitive-linguistic tasks. Analyses of individual performance also revealed that over half of the dyslexic readers exhibited deficits in syntactic and discourse skills. Moreover, syntactic skills, morphological skills, and rapid naming best distinguished dyslexic from non-dyslexic readers. Findings underscore the significance of syntactic and discourse skills for understanding reading impairment in Chinese adolescent readers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Comprehension / physiology
  • Dyslexia / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Language Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Language*
  • Linguistics / methods
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Phonetics
  • Reading*