The development of visual chunking skills in perception of Chinese characters of Hong Kong children with different levels of literacy

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The development of visual chunking skills in perception of Chinese characters of Hong Kong children with different levels of literacy

 

Author: Pak, Keng-hong
Title: The development of visual chunking skills in perception of Chinese characters of Hong Kong children with different levels of literacy
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2006
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Learning, Psychology of
Cognition in children
Perception in children
Department: School of Nursing
Pages: ix, 125 leaves : ill. ; 31 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2069737
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/511
Abstract: Research findings in visual chunking skills in Chinese character processing have suggested that visual chunking skills facilitate children's performance in character copying and they develop with learning experience. However, the relationship between visual chunking skills and levels of literacy has not been studied explicitly. This study aims to investigate the development of visual chunking skills of Hong Kong primary school children and its relationship with literacy levels to provide a better understanding of the cause of reading difficulties. This study used a delayed-copying task with stroke-patterns and twelve types of characters, differing in character familiarity, radical familiarity, number of strokes, and number of units. One hundred and ninety-six children from three main stream primary schools in Hong Kong were recruited and divided into three groups according to their comprehensive Chinese ability as reflected by their assessment results in Chinese subjects. This study included analyses of both accuracy and errors. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc tests were conducted for any significant group differences in performance in the delayed-copying task. In accuracy analysis, children with low literacy and children with special learning difficulties (SLD) performed more poorly than children with high literacy; but they did not consistently differ from each other. Older children performed better than younger children in every stimuli type. The main effects of character type, grade, and literacy were all significant in every comparison (p < .05). In the error analyses, it was found that younger children made more low-level errors than older children, suggesting that their visual chunking skills were lower than those of older children. SLD children, as expected, produced more low-level errors than their counterparts in the first grade, suggesting that their visual chunking skills were lower than those of children with high and low levels of literacy. This difference remained until the fourth grade. To conclude, visual skills as well as visual chunking skills were found to develop with schooling, such that older children were at a higher level than younger children, suggesting a positive relationship between print exposure and character recognition. Children with both high and low levels of literacy possessed more advanced visual chunking skills than children with SLD. However, the evidence was less conclusive when children with low literacy and children with SLD in the second grade were compared. Nevertheless, the difference in literacy levels remained in the fourth grade. The visual skills in character processing differed between children with different levels of literacy in the first grade and the difference was attenuated in higher grades.

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