Effects of Different Types of Chinese Characters on the Ability of Character Recognition for Chinese Children

By Yi-Chen Wu and S. Jay Samuels.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study examined how different categories of Chinese characters and their phonetic components affected character learning and character recognition. Participants were 3655 Chinese students from grades 1 through 9. Results indicated that there was a statistically significant relationship between grade and accuracy of character recognition at the elementary level, but not in junior high, and that some categories were significantly more difficult to recognize than others. The category that was the most difficult to recognize was the one in which there was a phonetic component embedded in the character. When this category was further broken into five subtypes, there were significant differences in recognition accuracy among these subtypes. To summarize, ease of learning individual characters is related to the category in which they belong, as well as the presence of an embedded phonetic component.

Keywords: Chinese Characters, Character Recognition, Phonetic Component

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp.155-172. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.613MB).

Dr. Yi-Chen Wu

Assistant Professor, Center for Teacher Education, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

I graduated from the Ph.D. program in Learning and Cognition at the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota in January 2004. I have had considerable research experiences in two related areas, in learning and cognition and in educational measurement. My recent research focuses on reading fluency, the effect of repeated reading on reading comprehension, and text readability in Chinese. I conducted several research studies in reading assessment and intervention. For example, I have developed and conducted a reading program in the elementary school that was designed to improve the reading ability for the immigrant Children in Taiwan. In addition, I have developed a program to calculate the readability of texts written in Chinese. I also have been developing a standardized test for measuring Chinese reading fluency in Taiwan.

Dr. S. Jay Samuels

Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

In 1953 I graduated from Queens College in New York City with a degree in elementary education and taught for more than ten years in New York and California. In 1965 I left California and took a position as an assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota where I continue to teach classes on the psychology of teaching and conduct research on the reading process. My research interests include the development of materials and methods for improving word recognition, fluency, and comprehension. I also investigate how to facilitate the young reader’s understanding of moral themes as well as measuring fluency. In 1985 the National Reading Council gave me its research award, and in 1987 the International Reading Association gave me its award for research on the reading process. I also am a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. In 1986, I received the College of Education Distinguished Teaching Award. I also received the International Reading Association William S. Gray Research Award and the National Reading Conference Oscar Causey Research Award. I am a member of the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development National Reading Panel.


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