Reading and Writing

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 493–510 | Cite as

Visual-motor integration and reading Chinese in children with/without dyslexia

  • Ze-Long Meng
  • Taeko N. Wydell
  • Hong-Yan BiEmail author


Visual-motor integration is an ability to coordinate the visual information and limb movement, which has direct relevance to Chinese handwriting ability. Interestingly handwriting practice can also improve Chinese reading. However, the relationship between visual-motor integration and reading ability in Chinese is unclear. The present study investigated the role of visual-motor integration skills in reading Chinese among children with and without developmental dyslexia. In the study Chinese children with developmental dyslexia (DD-Group), chronological-age-matched children (CA-Group), and reading-level-matched children (RL-Group) were asked to participate in reading and reading related tasks as well as word-copying and picture-copying (visual-motor integration) tasks. The results revealed that the DD-Group performed significantly worse than the CA-Group on the word copying task, and that the DD-Group performed similarly to the RL-Group on the reading and reading related tasks and the word-copying task. However, the DD-Group performed significantly worse than the CA- and RL-Groups on the visual-motor integration task. Further, when age and intelligence were controlled visual-motor integration and word-copying skills could explain 14 and 16% of the variance in reading skills respectively. When reading-related cognitive skills were controlled, visual-motor integration skills could still explain 8% of variance in reading skills, but word-copying skills did not. The results of the current study indicated for the first time that visual-motor integration skills play an essential role in reading Chinese independent of word copying ability.


Chinese developmental dyslexia Reading Word copying Visual-motor integration 



This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31671155, 31371044), Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Imaging Technology (No. BAICIT-2016018), and the Scientific Foundation of Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. Y6CX29007). The authors are extremely grateful to all of the participants, parents and schools for their support and participation in this study. Thanks go to Tong-Qi Wei for support and comments on the earlier version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no potential conflicts of interest


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Brain Science and Learning Difficulties, Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of PsychologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Life Sciences, College of Health and Life SciencesBrunel University LondonUxbridgeUK

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