Learning to See the Patterns in Chinese Characters

Richard C. Anderson, Yu Min Ku, Wenling Li, X. Chen, Xinchun Wu, Hua Shu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Chinese children's visual representation of characters was tracked with two tasks. The Delayed Copy Character Task required children to reproduce different types of characters and noncharacters after each had been briefly presented. The Detect Component Task required children to find different types of components embedded in sets of characters. Experiment 1 showed that by late first grade some children are aware of the internal structure of Chinese characters and are beginning to encode characters in terms of units representing major character components. Experiment 2 involved children from the second and fourth grade, as well as children early in the first grade, and more refined versions of the perceptual tasks. The finding again was that major components of characters, and even subcomponents that do not represent semantic or phonological information, function as units of character perception. The ability to see characters in terms of constituent units is acquired gradually over the early elementary school years and is correlated with vocabulary knowledge, reading comprehension, and teacher's rating of reading level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-56
Number of pages16
JournalScientific Studies of Reading
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning to See the Patterns in Chinese Characters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this