Morphological Awareness and Learning to Read Chinese and English

Jie Zhang, Tzu-jung Lin, Junli Wei, Richard C. Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper presents a model of the process by which morphological awareness facilitates reading development, and evaluates the role of morphological awareness in learning to read Chinese and English. The central idea is that morphological awareness enhances reading development by increasing the efficiency of the working memory, which in turn facilitates vocabulary learning and reading comprehension. Theoretical and empirical supports for the relationships between morphological awareness, working memory, vocabulary and reading growth are reviewed. Whether morphological awareness is more important for learning to read Chinese than learning to read English and to what extent morphological information may be more important for Chinese children’s working memory capacity are discussed. The paper is the first to link morphological awareness to verbal working memory, which opens new areas for future research endeavors that have the potential of enriching understanding of morphological awareness in learning to read.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReading Development and Difficulties in Monolingual and Bilingual Chinese Children
EditorsXi Chen, Qiuying Wang, Yang Cathy Luo
StatePublished - Sep 28 2013

Publication series

NameLiteracy Studies
ISSN (Print)2214-000X
ISSN (Electronic)2214-0018


  • morphological awareness
  • working memory
  • vocabulary
  • reading development


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