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Child Dev. 1982 Oct;53(5):1164-81.

Reading disabilities: the case of Chinese, Japanese, and English.


A common hypothesis has considered apparent differences in the incidence of reading disability in Asian and Western languages to be related to orthographic factors. A reading test was constructed in English, Japanese, and Chinese to assess the validity of this proposal. Large samples of fifth-grade children in Japan, Taiwan, and the United States were given the test and a battery of 10 cognitive tasks. Strong evidence was found that reading disabilities exist among Chinese and Japanese as well as among American children. In discriminating between groups of poor and average readers by means of the cognitive tasks, the combined effects of general information and verbal memory proved to be the most powerful predictors in Japan and Taiwan. General information and coding emerged as the most effective predictors for American children. The results cast doubt upon the crucial significance of orthography as the major factor determining the incidence of reading disabilities across cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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