Reading and Writing

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 1083–1108 | Cite as

Identifying the unique role of orthographic working memory in a componential model of Hong Kong kindergarteners’ Chinese written spelling

  • Jianhong Mo
  • Catherine McBride
  • Laiying Yip


We sought to test a componential model of Chinese written spelling, including the role of orthographic working memory (OWM), among Hong Kong kindergartners. One hundred seventeen kindergartners were recruited. OWM was measured using a visual orthographic judgment and a delayed copying task. Orthographic knowledge, semantic knowledge, and visual–motor skills were assessed via a set of cognitive–linguistic measures. Model comparison yielded the best fitting measurement model, which consisted of four factors, namely, OWM, orthographic knowledge, semantic knowledge, and visual–motor skills. A structural equation model indicated that 79% of the variance in Chinese spelling could be explained by these four factors. OWM was the strongest correlate of Chinese written spelling. These results highlight the fact that OWM is a predominant and distinctive correlate of Chinese written spelling acquisition.


Orthographic working memory Orthographic knowledge Visual–motor skills Semantic knowledge Chinese written spelling 



This research was funded by Social Science Panel Direct Grant from the Chinese University of Hong Kong to Catherine McBride (PI) (Project Code: 4052053) and by a GRF Grant from the Hong Kong government to Catherine McBride (PI) (Ref. Number: 14654116). The authors would like to thank the support of teachers and students of the three participating kindergartens.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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