Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 1265–1285 | Cite as

Reading Comprehension Mediates the Relationship between Syntactic Awareness and Writing Composition in Children: A Longitudinal Study

  • Xiuhong Tong
  • Catherine McBride


This research aimed to explore the relation between syntactic awareness and writing composition in 129 Hong Kong Chinese children. These children were from a ten-year longitudinal project. At each year, a number of measures were administered. The 129 children’s data of nonverbal reasoning at age 4, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, vocabulary knowledge at age 8, reading comprehension at age 12 and syntactic awareness and writing composition skills at ages 11 and 12 were included in this study. Syntactic awareness was longitudinally and uniquely predictive of Chinese children’s writing composition, and children’s performance in early writing composition was uniquely associated with their later syntactic skills, even when controlling for the contributions from age, nonverbal and verbal abilities, phonological awareness, and morphological awareness. The relationship between syntactic awareness and writing composition was mediated by children’s performance in reading comprehension. These findings may suggest a reciprocal relation between syntactic awareness and writing composition, and this association may vary with ability in reading comprehension in Chinese children.


Syntactic awareness Writing composition Reciprocal relationship Reading comprehension Mediation effect 



We thank all research assistant, children and parents for their participation. This research was supported by the General Research Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Research Grants Council (Project reference #451210) and Collaborative Research Fund (CUHK: 2300035) to Catherine McBride.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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