The Role of Working Memory in the Comprehension of Relative Clauses by Chinese Dyslexic Children
Keywords:Chinese dyslexia, Working memory, sentence comprehension, relative clauses
Previous psycholinguistic studies on the processing of relative clauses delineate the importance of working memory in sentence comprehension. This study further investigates the role of working memory in the comprehension of Chinese relative clauses by dyslexic children who have reading and writing difficulties in Chinese. In this study, a computerized sentence listening and reading comprehension test was designed to assess to what extent dyslexic children comprehend Chinese sentences consisting of three types of relative clauses. The results of the test indicate that dyslexic children were significantly worse that their non-dyslexic counterparts with comparable educational level, age and IQ inÂ both listening and reading comprehension of relative clauses. Dyslexic children had great difficulty in comprehending the subject-extracted relative clauses which involve heavy working memory load in restructuring the word order for comprehension. The findings of the study highlight the importance of working memory in sentence comprehension by dyslexic children, and shed light on the enhancement of sentence comprehension of dyslexic children. It is proposed that language games andÂ computerized language tasks can be used for training theÂ working memory of dyslexic children, which in turn faciliates the sentence comprehension that is essential for text comprehension.
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