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Cross-script transfer of word reading fluency in a mixed writing system: Evidence from a longitudinal study in Japanese

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2018

Seigakuin University
University of Alberta
Fukuyama City University
Okinawa Chubu Medical Treatment and Education Center
Hokkaido University of Education
Iwaki Junior College
Macquarie University
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Dr. Tomohiro Inoue, Department of Child Studies, Seigakuin University, 1-1 Tosaki, Ageo, Saitama, 362-8585, Japan. E-mail:


We examined the cross-lagged relations between word reading fluency in the two orthographic systems of Japanese: phonetic (syllabic) Hiragana and morphographic Kanji. One hundred forty-two Japanese-speaking children were assessed on word reading fluency twice in Grade 1 (Times 1 and 2) and twice in Grade 2 (Times 3 and 4). Nonverbal IQ, vocabulary, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and rapid automatized naming were also assessed in Time 1. Results of path analysis revealed that Time 1 Hiragana fluency predicted Time 2 Kanji fluency after controlling for the cognitive skills. Time 2 Hiragana fluency did not predict Time 3 Kanji fluency or vice versa after the autoregressor was controlled, but Hiragana and Kanji fluency were reciprocally related between Times 3 and 4. These findings provide evidence for a cross-script transfer of word reading fluency across the two contrastive orthographic systems, and the first evidence of fluency in a morphographic script predicting fluency development in a phonetic script within the same language.

Original Article
© Cambridge University Press 2018 

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