Developmental trajectories of reading development and impairment from ages 3 to 8 years in Chinese children

Document Type


Publication Date



John Wiley & Sons, Inc


Background: Early prediction of reading disabilities in Chinese is important for early remediation efforts. In this 6-year longitudinal study, we investigated the early cognitive predictors of reading skill in a statistically representative sample of Chinese children from Beijing.

Method: Two hundred sixty-one (261) native Chinese children were administered seven language-related skills over three years between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Performances on these skills were then examined in relation to subsequent word reading accuracy and fluency. Individual differences in developmental profiles across tasks were then estimated using growth mixture modeling.

Results: Four developmental trajectories were classified – the typical (control), catch-up (with low initial cognitive performances but adequate subsequent reading), literacy-related-cognitive-delay (with difficulties in morphological awareness, phonological awareness, and speeded naming and subsequent word recognition), and language-delay (relatively low across all tasks) groups.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that the combination of phonological awareness, rapid naming and morphological awareness are essential in the early prediction of later reading difficulties in Chinese children.